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Chinese Warships Visited Istanbul

Type 054A frigate 532 Jingzhou (left) and Type 052C destroyer 150 Changchun docked to Istanbul Sarayburnu quay.

Type 093 replenishment tanker 890 Chaohu

Between 18 and 21 July 2017 a task force of 3 Chinese warship made a visit to Istanbul

Task Group 150 consisting of Type 052C destroyer 150 Changchun, Type 054A frigate 532 Jingzhou and Type 093 replenishment tanker 890 Chaohu have left China on 23 April 2017, on the 68th anniversary of the founding of the PLAN, for a goodwill voyage to some 20 countries in Asia, Europe, Africa and Oceania.

The task force headed by Admiral Miao Hua were welcomed by Chinese Military Attaché to Ankara Zheng Qinli, Consul General to Istanbul Qian Bo and a group of Chinese citizens.

This year’s visit was very similar to the previous PLAN visit to Istanbul in 2012 and 2015. In both cases the PLAN fleet was made of one destroyer, one frigate and one replenishment ship.

In 2012 and in 2015 however the destroyer and the frigate have passed through the Bosphorus and entered the Black Sea. This year the ships stayed in Istanbul and have not transit through the Strait northbound. The PLAN task force spend 4 days in Istanbul and left for the Mediterranean.

Here are some close up photos of the destroyer Changhun:

And here are some close up photos of the frigate Jingzhou:

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A Submarine Sighted

Type 209/1400 class submarine TCG Preveze passing southbound through Bosphorus

On 25 July 2017, a Turkish Navy, Preveze or Gür class submarine was sighted passing through Bosphorus.

Since Turkish Navy stopped painting the pennant number of the submarines on their hulls, it is impossible to identify each individual submarine anymore. While this new painting scheme helps the submarines to blend and prevents IR/FLIR/LLTV using trackers or electro-optic directors any high contrast target, it makes ship spotting difficult.

Last week TCG Preveze took part in naval exercise Breeze in Bulgaria while TCG Batıray took part in naval exercise Sea Breeze 2017 in Ukraine.

Since this is the first Preveze or Gür class submarine returning from the Black Sea and the only one recently reported to be deployed in the region, I think it is safe to say that this submarine is S-353 TCG Preveze.

Update On TCSG-25’s Collision With M/V Tolunay

On 17 August 2016, Turkish Coast Guard vessel TCSG-25 collided with the Cook Island flag and Turkish owned bulk carrier M/V Tolunay, near the southern entrance of Bosphorus.

TCSG-25 was tasked to escort the Russian Natya class mine hunter Valentin Pikul which was returning from her Syrian deployment. The coast guard boat capsized after the collision.  Lieutenant Ali Rıza Yücel, Petty Officers Yavuz Gökhan Şahin, Bülent Demirkaya and rating Sinan Göktaş died while the remaining 3 crew members were rescued.

The captain of M/V Tolunay, Abdullah Hamadı and 2 members of the crew are currently on trial. They are charged with causing death and injury through negligence. The prosecution asks for imprisonment from 4.5 years to 22.5 years.

There is a video taken by a sailor on board of the Russian mine sweeper showing the accident. TCSG-25 had the agility and the speed to sprint and move away from the merchant ship.

Spanish Warship Arrived For A Port Visit

f102The Spanish frigate F-102 ESPS Almirante Juan De Borbon arrived this morning in Istanbul. It was a cold, chilly morning with little sun and with much snow fall.

The frigate is doing a port visit here. She will stay in Istanbul, presumably until Monday and will later pass through Bosphorus and enter Black Sea. Her next port of call has not been disclosed but it will be either Varna or Constanta or maybe both.

It was in 2014, when ESPS Almirante Juan De Borbon was in Istanbul the last time.

The Death Of A Tanker

37 years ago to this day, in the very early hours, İstanbul was shaken by a large explosion. There was a huge firewall on the water and windows of many nearby houses were broken.

The Romanian tanker MT Independenta was waiting for the pilot, when the Greek cargo ship MV Evriali collided, at the southern entrance  of Bosphorus.

MT Independenta suffered 3 large explosions. Only 3 of her 43 strong crew survived the accident. The ship burned for days and created a huge environmental disaster.

My grandfather was lucky, to go on board and take some interesting yet grotesque and grim photos.   Some of them are below, to testify the intensity of the heat and days of burning.

My captured picture

My captured picture

My captured picture

My captured picture

My captured picture

My captured picture

My captured picture

My captured picture

My captured picture

My captured picture

My captured picture

My captured picture

My captured picture

Coast Guard Boat Collided With A Merchant Ship And Capsized

TCSG25

TCSG-25 in her better days

Yesterday morning, during the morning rush hour, the Turkish Coast Guard vessel TCSG-25 collided with the Cook Island flag and Turkish owned bulk carrier M/V Tolunay on Bosphorus. The accident happened near the southern entrance of Bosphorus. The coast guard boat capsized after the collision. Both civilian and military rescue ships and other vessels were rushed to the scene. Unfortunately 3 members of crew Rıza Yücel, Yavuz Gökhan Şahin and Sinan Göktaş died while the remaining 3 were rescued.

The boat was tasked to escort the Russian Natya class mine hunter Valentin Pikul which was returning from her Syrian deployment.

If you wonder -like me- how a slow and large bulk carrier could collide with a very fast and agile boat the video below gives us some clue. For a reason, not clear, to me the coast guard boats stays motionless in front of the bulker. At this point it was not possible for the merchant ship to see the boat or to stop.

After the collision the merchant ship sailed till the northern entrance of Bosphorus to Büyükdere Bay. That Bay is the first place along the Bosphorus where a safe anchorage without disturbing the transit traffic is possible. Conveniently the headquarters of Istanbul Coast Guard Command is also located there.

From The Archive (20)

550

Italian helicopter cruiser, C-550 ITS Vittorio Veneto in Istanbul. She visited Istanbul a few times before being decommissioned in 2003. I have no date for this photo but it looks like late 1990’s.

From The Archive (19)

R97

French helicopter cruiser R-97 FS Jeanne d’Arc in Istanbul on 12 February 1996. She visited Istanbul a few times during her training cruises for French naval cadets.

From The Archive (17)

F301

F-301 HNoMS Bergen in Istanbul on 11 October 1992. The Oslo class frigate of the Royal Norwegian Navy was commissioned on 22 June 1967. She served till 3 August 2005. Like last weeks post, she is one of her kind as I have not seen any other Norwegian warship in Istanbul.

From The Archive (16)

a302

A-302 SAS Outeniqua in Istanbul on 15 September 1993. It was her inaugural voyage from Ukraine to South Africa. She was built as Arctic supply vessel of Project 10621 in Ukraine for Russia and bought by South Africa. She was decommissioned on 30 July 2004. As far as I know she is the only South African warship ever visited Istanbul.

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