Egypt’s New Corvette Towed Back To Russia

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The tug Paradox on the right towing the corvette R-32 on the left.

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The Tarantul class corvette, R-32 being towed. The tow line is clearly visible at the right of the photo. The smoke coming from the stack indicates working machinery.

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The Tarantul class corvette, R-32, the latest addition to the Egyptian Navy, being towed. The tow line is clearly visible at the right of the photo.

On 19 August 2015, the Russian tug SB-921 Paradoks, towed the Tarantul class missile corvette R-32 to Russia.

The corvette made headlines when she was handed over to Egyptian Navy on 10 August 2015. According to official statements the handing of the corvette was seen as a confirmation of the cooperation and strategic partnership between Egypt and Russia and within the framework of joint military cooperation between the two countries’ armed forces.

When she was towed the corvette R-32 was observed hoisting St Andrews, the ensign of Russian Navy instead of the Egyptian one. Also the crew appeared to be Russian.

The reason, why the corvette was being towed after 5 days Egypt announced it had taken delivery of the vessel, is not obvious from the outside. The smoke coming out of the stack of the corvette indicates that either the main machinery or the generators for electricity are working. If the main machinery is not faulty the problem may be in the reduction gear, shafts, propellers or rudders.

This incident shows that any foreign navy should check about the condition of the warship before accepting it from Russian Navy.

Turkish Navy Submarine Rescue Operation

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The Atmospheric Diving Suit being lowered into the sea. Photo: AA

Last week Turkish Navy demonstrated its underwater search and rescue capabilities by using an atmospheric diving suit (ADS).

According to the training scenario the Atılay class submarine TCG Dolunay at a dept of 100 meters, released her distress buoy 13 miles off the coast of Mediterranean city Mersin . When the news of the distresses submarine reached the HQ of the Salvage Command of Turkish Navy the ADS , its pilot and the support crew were flown to İncirlik Air Force base in Adana. From here they were brought to Mersin harbor and loaded to the tug A-590 TCG İnebolu.

When TCG İnebolu arrived to the location of the distressed submarine, the ADS was lowered to the submarine. The pilot inside ADS connected fresh air supply from the surface to the submarine. The circulation of the fresh and used air is vital for the bottomed submarine until further rescue equipment arrives to the scene.

The ADS known as Hardsuit Quantum 1200 by its manufacturer,  Oceanworks, is in operation since 2007 and can operate till 365 meter of depth.  Although it is very risky to submerge a person to such depths having a human on the scene can have some advantages over using ROVs. A similar ADS with a higher depth rating (600m) will be on board  of the submarine rescue mother ship (MOSHIP) A-601 TCG Alemdar when she is commissioned.

Here is a nice video of ADS at work:

Lest We Forget: TCG Dumlupınar

On 4 April 1953, in the wee hours of the morning two Turkish submarines  TCG Dumlupınar and her sister boat TCG 1. İnönü,entered from the Aegean into the Dardanelles Strait, as the returning from the NATO naval exercise Blue Sea.

The Commodore of First Submarine Squadron was in command of the two submarines and he was on board of TCG Dumlupınar. When the submarine reached the Cape Nara, the narrowest point of the Strait the Swedish flagged cargo ship M/V Naboland collided with the submarine. The accident happened at 02:15 in the morning.

M/V Naboland rammed TCG Dumlupınar from starboard forecastle just aft of the forward diving planes. The submarine rolled to port with force of the impact and sunk immediately. 5 sailors who were in the sail at the time of the collision survived. Rest of the crew, 81 men, were trapped inside her hull. She sunk at the narrowest point of Dardanelles at 85 meters.

22 sailors trapped in the aft torpedo compartment were able to release the submarine’s sunk buoy. The rescuers above the water tried to give hope and moral but time was an enemy. Submarine rescue and salvage ships were rushed from the main naval base in Gölcük after the incident. But all efforts to reach the submarine and rescue the survivors failed cause of very strong water currents and insufficient equipment.

The last words from the submarine, before the currents tore the cable of buoy were: For our country.

Since that fateful day, on every 4th of April we remember those that have a watery grave were no rose will grow.

USS Taylor Passed Through Bosphorus Being Towed

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USS Taylor being towed by the tug Coastal Voyager. The tug Kurtaran 1 from Turkish Coastal Safety Agency is preventing the ship from drifting at the back. Turkish Coast Guard vessel TCSG-90 is providing security.

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This photo show the third tug, again from Turkish Coastal Safety Agency. She was on the starboard side of USS Taylor during her passage through Bosphorus, preventing the ship from drifting by the currents

The Arleigh Burke class destroyer DDG-103 USS Truxtun is the only US warship in the Black Sea as today with the southbound passage of FF(G)-50 USS Taylor through the Bosphorus.

The Perry class frigate was deployed to the Black Sea before the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games started. USS Taylor and the flag ship of the US 6th Fleet USS Mount Whitney were send to the Black Sea to help with the evacuation of US athletes and spectators in case of an terror attack to the Games.

USS Taylor had a grounding in Samsun harbour on 12 February 2014 as she arrived here for refueling. Her only propeller was damaged during the accident and all the work done to repair the ship turned out to be not effective.

US Navy contracted the company DonJon specialized in marine salvage and towing, to tow USS Taylor to Souda Crete where her propeller hub and blades will be replaced. 

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USS Taylor Departs Samsun

While USS Truxtun sailed towards the Black Sea another US Navy warship is trying to leave it.

The Perry class frigate FF(G)-50 USS Taylor is being towed towards Souda, Creta. USS Taylor was with USS Mount Whitney, the flag-ship of US 6th Fleet port of the US Navy’s Olympic Deployment. Both ships arrived just before the 2014 Olympic games and were supposed to stay during the games on position outside of Russian waters.

On 12 January 2014, the frigate run aground as she was about to be docked at Samsun harbour for refueling. The frigates sole propeller was damaged rendering the ship unable to move.  Since then, USS Taylor remained  docked at Samsun port.

USS Taylor (FFG 50) departed the Turkish port of Samsun, March 7, for Naval Support Activity Souda Bay, Greece, for repairs following the Feb. 12 grounding incident. The ship was moved with the assistance of a tug from Donjon Towing Company. 

NSA Souda Bay was chosen as the closest location with the most robust U.S. Navy support and logistics infrastructure. 

Repairs to Taylor will include replacement of the propeller blades and propeller hub. Repairs are expected to take several weeks. Following completion of repairs, Taylor will continue its scheduled deployment in the U.S. 6th and 5th Fleet areas of operations. 

While the brilliantly worded text of the U.S. 6th Fleet Public Affairs keeps the reader in suspense whether the frigate is towed by the tug or not, the photos taken in Samsun clearly provide us the answer:

USS Taylor being puılled away from Samsun. Photo: Anadolu Ajansı, via gettyimages.

USS Taylor being pulled away from Samsun. Photo: Anadolu Ajansı, via gettyimages.

I would appreciate any information regarding the tug.

USS Taylor Commanding Officer Relieved of Duty

USS Taylor in Samsun.

USS Taylor is still in Samsun.

Unfortunately the career of the commanding officer of the stricken frigate FF(G)-50 USS Taylor did not survived the grounding in Samsun, Turkey.  As expected, Commander Dennis Volpe was relieved from the command of USS Taylor.

Capt. Jim Aiken, commander, Task Force 65, relieved Cmdr. Dennis Volpe, commanding officer of the Mayport-based frigate USS Taylor (FFG 50), Feb. 25, due to loss of confidence in Volpe’s ability to command.

The relief occurred following a preliminary inquiry into a Feb. 12 grounding incident in Samsun, Turkey. The grounding occurred as Taylor was preparing to moor in Samsun, Turkey.

Taylor was able to moor without further incident. There were no reported injuries, and the incident is currently under investigation.

Volpe has been temporarily reassigned to the staff of Commander, Destroyer Squadron 14.

Cmdr. Chris Cigna has been named as interim commanding officer of USS Taylor until a permanent relief can be assigned.

I have been told by reliable sources that the repair work on the frigate was not finished and despite earlier assumptions the frigate was still docked in Samsun. While it is not clear how long the repair of USS Taylor will take, she was going to be decommissioned next year.

So will USS Taylor become a second USS La Moure County?

Lest We Forget: DM-357 TCG Muavenet

I have missed the anniversary of the incident of TCG Muavenet being hit. So I am reposting one of my earlier post about this incident:

DM-357 TCG Muavenet was a special ship for me. This picture of hers, which I have taken back in 29 October 1989, was my very first photo to be published in Jane’s Fighting Ships in 1991 edition.

On 2th October 1992, 11 minutes past midnight, during the NATO’s Display Determination ’92 naval exercise, two Sea Sparrow surface to air missiles fired accidentally from the aircraft carrier CV-60 USS Saratoga, hit the bridge of the Turkish destroyer DM-357 TCG Muavenet. 5 sailors including the commander of the ship were killed instantly and 15 badly hurt. A fire broke out on board. At the time of the incident two ships were 3 miles apart and were streaming north in the Aegean.

According the United States Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit the fateful events unfolded as follows:

“On October 1, 1992, the Combat Direction Center Officer aboard the Saratoga decided to launch a simulated attack on nearby opposition forces utilizing the Sea Sparrow missile system. After securing the approval of the Saratoga’s Commanding Officer and the Battle Group Commander, the Combat Direction Center Officer implemented the simulated assault plan. Without providing prior notice, officers on the Saratoga woke the enlisted Sea Sparrow missile team and directed them to conduct the simulated attack.

Certain members of the missile firing team were not told that the exercise was a drill, rather than an actual event. As the drill progressed, the missile system operator used language to indicate he was preparing to fire a live missile, but due to the absence of standard terminology, the responsible officers failed to appreciate the significance of the terms used and the requests made. Specifically, the Target Acquisition System operator issued the command “arm and tune,” terminology the console operators understood to require arming of the missiles in preparation for actual firing.

The officers supervising the drill did not realize that “arm and tune” signified a live firing. As a result, the Saratoga inadvertently fired two live Sea Sparrow missiles at the TCG Muavenet. Both missiles struck the TCG Muavenet, resulting in several deaths and numerous injuries.”

According to a report prepared by Turkish Naval Military Prosecutor’s Office on November 11, 1992 the Saratoga was with the visible horizon and the launch of the missiles were observed on TCG Muavenet.

One of the missiles hit the ship approximately after a flight of ten seconds. The first missile hit the front of the ships bridge and destroyed it. The second missile exploded in the air probably because the blast of the first missile and peppered the ship with shrapnel. Ships radar antenna, forward gun turrets, hedgehog launcher suffered from the shrapnel damage. The pieces of the second missile penetrated the forward gun turret, cabins of the supply officer and XO.

A fire started at the ammunition chamber of the Hedgehog system. The explosion of the Hedgehog rounds would have caused the loss of the ships. After the hits general quarters were sounded and the fire fighting teams started to tackle the fire. On the other hand the damage control teams were throwing the ready ammunition in the forward gun turrets and other explosives near the fire over the board as a safety measure.

When the situation was under control TCG Muavenet was towed to the Gölcük Naval Base. And the exercise continued as planned.

The damage to the old ship was extensive. She was not useable anymore therefore she was decommissioned right away. Later US gave Knox class FFG-1093 USS Capodanno as compensation.

The fire was under control in 10 minutes but the water caused damage in the decks that were not harmed in the initial blast.

These two photos were taken after TGC Muavenet was towed to Gölcük Naval Base.

The extend of the damage resulting both from missile impact and fire is obvious. It was quite a skill to bring the fire under control before reached to the gun turret in B position. If the fire has spread further to the turrets and ammunition chambers of the guns, the she would not have survived.

All the fire fighting and damage control efforts were done in the absence of the commander of the ship. This fact speaks for the professionalism of the officers and the bravery of the whole crew. They simply did not give up the ship.

Commander Kudret Güngör
Ensign Alertunga Akan
Petty Officer 3th Class Serkan Aktepe
Sergant Mustafa Kılınç
Private Recep Akan

Paid the ultimate price for the defence of their country.

For further reading:
US Navy Court of Inquiry

Turkish Navy Court of Inquiry

Wikipedia

An interesting but technical legal article about why USA did not paid indemnities to the Turkish sailors

The Last Voyage Of TCG Muavenet

The Knox class ex-Muavenet on her way to the scrapyard in Aliağa. She is towed by A-587 TCG Gazal. Photo: Turgay Köken, used with permission.

The bulk of the FF-1093 ex-USS Capodanno, F-250 ex-TCG Muavenet is on her way to the scrapyard in Aliağa, İzmir. This is her final voyage.

The Knox class frigates served a short service in Turkish Navy compared to older Gearing class destroyers and newer Perry class frigates. F-250 TCG Muavenet was the first ever Knox class ship given by the US Navy to the Turkish Navy. She was given as a compensation to the old DM-357 TCG Muavenet, which was severely damaged by two Sea Sparrow anti aircraft missiles fired accidentally from the aircraft carrier USS Saratoga in 1992.

The hull of ex-TCG Muavenet. Photo: Turgay Köken, used with permission.

 

USS Winston S. Churchill Helps M/V Belde

DDG-81 USS Winston S. Churchill. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Aaron Chase

US warship DDG-81 USS Winston S. Churchill was the first ship that respond to the distress call from the Turkish owned and Panamanian flagged merchant ship M/V Belde on Aug. 20, approximately 110 miles north of Socotra Island, Yemen.

The captain and one sailor of M/V Belde were checking the cables securing the load on the deck when one of the cables broke and the load crashed on the crew. The captain died on the spot and the distress call was made for the injured sailor.

NAVAL SUPPORT ACTIVITY, Bahrain (NNS) — Guided-missile destroyer USS Winston S. Churchill (DDG 81) rendered medical assistance to Panamanian-flagged, bulk carrier M/V Belde, Aug. 20, approximately 110 miles north of Socotra Island, Yemen.

At approximately 1:10 p.m. local time, Winston S. Churchill responded to a distress call following a cargo-handling accident aboard Belde.

After arriving on scene, Winston S. Churchill dispatched two rigid-hull inflatable boats, transporting the ship’s hospital corpsman, and the visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) team to assess the injured personnel. 

One Belde crew member was killed in the accident and another required advanced medical care for injuries sustained.

Winston S. Churchill conducted a medical evacuation, transporting the injured crew member by an SH-60B helicopter attached to Helicopter Squadron Light 42, Detachment 8, to an Oman medical facility for treatment.

No further assistance was required. 

“There are a multitude of hazards in the maritime domain. As such, we are always ready to assist,” said Cmdr. Christopher D. Stone, Churchill commanding officer. “Our sympathies go out to those affected by this tragic incident. We, as partners in the maritime commons, are always ready and willing to help and are glad that we were in the right place at the right time to lend a hand.”

For additional information about the incident and the crew please click here and here.

Lest We Forget: TCG Dumlupınar

On 4 April 1953, in the wee hours of the morning two Turkish submarines  TCG Dumlupınar and her sister boat TCG 1. İnönü,entered from the Aegean into the Dardanelles Strait, as the returning from the NATO naval exercise Blue Sea.

The Commodore of First Submarine Squadron was in command of the two submarines and he was on board of TCG Dumlupınar. When the submarine reached the Cape Nara, the narrowest point of the Strait the Swedish flagged cargo ship M/V Naboland collided with the submarine. The accident happened at 02:15 in the morning.

M/V Naboland rammed TCG Dumlupınar from starboard forecastle just aft of the forward diving planes. The submarine rolled to port with force of the impact and sunk immediately. 5 submariners who were in the sail at the time of the collision survived. Rest of the crew, 81 men, were trapped inside her hull. She sunk at the narrowest point of Dardanelles at 85 meters.

22 sailors trapped in the aft torpedo compartment were able to release the submarine’s sunk buoy. The rescuers above the water tried to give hope and moral but time was an enemy. Submarine rescue and salvage ships were rushed from the main naval base in Gölcük after the incident. But all efforts to reach the submarine and rescue the survivors failed cause of very strong water currents and insufficient equipment.

The last words from the submarine, before the currents tore the cable of buoy were: For our country.

Since that fateful day, on every 4th of April we remember those that have a watery grave were no rose will grow.

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