Ivan Khurs Deployed to the Mediterranean

Yesterday, Ivan Khurs a Project 18280 class intelligence-gathering warship of Russian Black Sea Fleet transited through Istanbul.

This is the start of her first Mediterranean deployment. She was launched in 2017 and joined the Russian Black Sea Fleet in 2018. Her inaugural voyage to her base in Sevastopol was in December 2018. She has passed through Istanbul ob 27th December 2018 after sunset. So we are not able to see much of her.

Since her recent deployment happened in broad daylight we are able to observer Ivan Khurs.

Below are 3 photos of the various antennas onboard Ivan Khurs.

The Death Of MT Independenta

40 years ago on this day, in the very early hours, İstanbul was shaken by a large explosion.  A powerful shock wave that broke the windows of many houses, was followed by a big large bright fireball.

The Romanian tanker MT Independenta was waiting for the pilot at the southern entrance of Istanbul Strait when the Greek cargo ship MV Evriali collided with her. The Romanian tanker was carrying 93,800 tons of crude oil from Libya as cargo and 260 tons of heavy fuel. Only 3 of the 43 strong crew survived the accident. The burning hull grounded half a mile away from the Haydarpaşa port and few meters from the breakwater. The tanker burned for one month until all the oil was consumed by the infernal fire. Attempts to fight the fire were unsuccessful.

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

Turkish Naval Forces Day Commemorated With A Sail Parade

The 27th September, the anniversary of the Battle of Preveza, is celebrated as the Turkish Naval Forces Day.

On 27th September 1538, a naval battle for the supremacy in the Mediterranean was fought between the Ottoman Navy commandeered by Barbaros Hayrettin Pasa and the fleet of a Christian alliance assembled by Pope Paul III and commandeered by Andrea Doria. With the victory at Preveza and the subsequent victory in the Battle of Djerba in 1560, the Ottoman Empire successfully repulsed the efforts of Venice and Spain, the two principal Mediterranean powers, to stop the Turkish drive to control the Mediterranean.

To commemorate the day Turkish Naval Forces organized a sail parade through Istanbul. 8 warships and two special forces RHIB’s took part in the ceremony. All these ships minus TYCG Sancaktar are open for public on Friday afternoon and on Saturday in Istanbul. In all Turkey, 45 ships will be open for public to visit.

F-247 TCG Kemalreis the flagship of the Turkish Navy.

F-246 TCG Salihreis. She too has extra space and equipment to act as a flagship.

F-241 TCG Turgutreis. First-generation of MEKO 200 type frigates in service.

F-512 TCG Büyükada. The second Ada (Milgem) class corvette. She was launched 8 years ago on this day and commissioned 6 years ago again on this day.

F-511 TCG Heybeliada. The first indigenous warship constructed in Turkey. She was commissioned 8 years ago on this day.

L-403 TCG Sancaktar. The newest landing ship in inventory. She has extensive command and control facilities for land operations. 

P-335 TCG Atak. 

P-337 TCG İmbat. Both TCG Atak and TCG İmbat are the last generation of fast attack craft in the Turkish Naval Forces.

Russian Submarine Krasnodar Transited Southbound Trough Istanbul

Today improved Kilo class (Proj. 636.3) submarine of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, Krasnodar made an unexpected southbound passage through Bosphorus.

The submarine one of the six units built specially for the Black Sea Fleet has been deployed in the region since 7.8.2017. She has 6 533mm torpedo tubes and carries a combination of up to 18 torpedoes, SS-N-27 anti-ship, and Kalibr land attack missiles.

While a southbound passage of a Russian submarine is very rare, it is has happened before. Russian Kilo class (Proj. 877) submarine Alrosa suffered an engine fire in 2009 and had to go to the Baltic for extensive repairs. She did even take part in the NATO exercise Bold Monarch 2011. Yes, it was different times then.

The Montreux Convention regulates the passage of submarines. While the submarines of non-Black Sea nations are forbidden to pass through the Straits, the submarines of the Black Sea riparian States may pass under certain conditions

Article 12.

Black Sea Powers shall have the right to send through the Straits, for the purpose of rejoining their base, submarines constructed or purchased outside the Black Sea, provided that adequate notice of the laying down or purchase of such submarines shall have been given to Turkey. Submarines belonging to the said Powers shall also be entitled to pass through the Straits to be repaired in dockyards outside the Black Sea on condition that detailed information on the matter is given to Turkey. In either case, the said submarines must travel by day and on the surface and must pass through the Straits singly.

The provision in the convention is very clear. If Krasnodar exited the Black Sea for repairs then this passage does not break the rules of the convention. If the submarine, however, joins her 2 sisters all ready stationed in the Med since 2017 and conducts military operations, then this will be a clear breach of the Montreux Convention. We will know better in a few days.

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:

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.

%d bloggers like this: