Turkish Navy Conducting Simultaneous Port Visits In 5 Countries

TCG Oruçreis arrives in Varna. Photo: Nikolay Zlatev.

10 Turkish warships are conducting port visits in 5 different ports, in 5 different countries.

The long needed rest came after the end of the first phase of naval exercise Deniz Yıldızı 2017. The exercise has started on 27 March and will end on 7 April.

Of course the small size of the Black Sea helps. But Turkey is the only Black Sea nation that can perform such a diplomatic show of force. It is not a small event to do port visits in 5 different nations at the same time.

This is the list of the ships doing port visits. Most of them  will be open for public to visit.

Name Type Port Country
TCG Oruçreis Frigate Varna Bulgaria
TCG Tuzla Patrol Boat Varna Bulgaria
TCG Kalkan Fast Attack Craft Batumi Georgia
TCG Yıldırım Frigate Batumi Georgia
TCG Turgutreis Frigate Constanta Romania
TCG Yıldız Fast Attack Craft Constanta Romania
TCG Büyükada Corvette Novorossiysk Russia
TCG Barbaros Frigate Novorossiysk Russia
TCG Heybeliada Corvette Odessa Ukraine
TCG Gaziantep Frigate Odessa Ukraine
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Port Visits of Turkish Warships During The Weekend

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TCG Salihreis arriving in Varna, Bulgaria. Photo: Nikolay Zlatev.

The Deniz Yıldızı 2016 naval exercise continues in Black Sea. According to Turkish General Staff, 25 warships and submarine plus 11 aircraft and helicopter takes part in the exercise.

As reported earlier, over the weekend the ships conducted port visits in many cities both in country and abroad. Here is the list of the ships and the ports they have visited during the weekend:

Name Type City Country
TCG Karayel Fast attack craft Varna Bulgaria
TCG Kemalreis Frigate Varna Bulgaria
TCG Kilimli Patrol boat Varna Bulgaria
TCG Yavuz Frigate Batumi Georgia
TCG Heybeliada Corvette Constanta Romania
TCG Kılıç Fast attack craft Constanta Romania
TCG Giresun Frigate Constanta Romania
TCG Ayvalık Mine hunter Amasra Turkey
TCG Yüzbaşı İhsan Tulunay Auxiliary İnebolu Turkey
TCG İmbat Fast attack craft İnebolu Turkey
TCG Turgutreis Frigate İnebolu Turkey
TCG Karadeniz Ereğli Patrol boat Kefken Turkey
TCG Akar Auxiliary Samsun Turkey
TCG Tufan Fast attack craft Samsun Turkey
TCG Barbaros Frigate Samsun Turkey
TCG Ertuğrul Landing ship Samsun Turkey
TCG Büyükada Corvette Sinop Turkey
TCG Göksu Frigate Zonguldak Turkey
TCG Bartın Corvette Odessa Ukraine
TCG Salihreis Frigate Odessa Ukraine

Bulgaria Plans To Buy 2 New Warships In 6 Years Time

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Bulgarian frigate Verni. She is nearing her obsolescence. Here is a photo of her from 5 years ago

According to Sofia News Agency, Bulgarian defence minister Nikolay Nenchev announced that Bulgaria was planing to spend up to $477.80 million to procure two multi purpose warships.

The procurement cost, which comprises armaments, equipment and communication systems for the ships, could be one-third lower if the vessels were built in Bulgaria, Nenchev said during a visit to the Black Sea city of Varna on Thursday, according to a statement of the Defence Ministry.

“Within three-and-a half to six years the Navy will have two completed vessels,” Nenchev said.
The project will be submitted to Parliament in the next few days and the lawmakers are expected to approve it by the end of May, Nenchev added.
Preliminary talks have already been held with EU and NATO member states about potential acquisition of patrol ships, according to the statement.

It is the high time for Bulgaria to invest in new warships to protect her interests in the Black Sea.

The Bulgarian Navy has terminated its submarine service after 94 years and decommissioned her sole submarine in 2011. The 3 Wielingen class frigates and one Tripartite class mine hunter all bought from Belgium are the only new warships commissioned into naval service since the end of the Cold War. Thus around the year 2022 when the above mentioned two new warships are commissioned, the 3 Wielingen frigates Drazki, Verni and Gordi will be almost 45 years old.

I do not think Turkey’s burgeoning naval ship building industry despite its close geographical location will have much chance to win the bid for these ships. French, Dutch or German companies may have an advantage here.

SNMG-2 Arrives In Varna

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Bulgarian frigate BNS Drazki, in Varna. Photo: Nikolay Zlatev. Used with permission.

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Canadian frigate HMCS Fredericton arriving to Varna. Photo: Nikolay Zlatev. Used with permission.

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Turkish frigate TCG Turgutreis arriving to Varna. Photo: Nikolay Zlatev. Used with permission.

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German tanker FGS Spessart in Varna. Photo: Nikolay Zlatev. Used with permission.

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Italian frigate ITS Alieso in Varna. Photo: Nikolay Zlatev. Used with permission.

The ships assigned to Standing NATO Maritime Group Two (SNMG-2) arrived to-day to the Bulgarian port Varna. There is a very strong north wind in the Black Sea throughout the weekend and I think the sailors are happy to be in a port in this weather. According to the excellent Bulgarian blog SeaDog, the flagship of the task force USS Vicksburg did not enter the harbor due to strong winds. She is expected to arrive on 8 March 2015.

“Our Sailors are excited to visit Varna and to interact with the people who represent this city and nation,” said Rear Admiral Williamson. “More importantly, we are looking forward to getting back underway and training with the professional mariners of the Bulgarian Navy.”

During the port visit, SNMG2 leadership will meet with local Bulgarian authorities and Navy officials to discuss numerous issues of shared importance, to include exercises in the Black Sea.

SNMG2 is in the Black Sea as part of a regularly scheduled deployment to the region to assure NATO Allies of the Alliance’s commitment to collective defense. During the deployment, SNMG2 ships are training with ships from the Bulgarian, Romanian and Turkish Navies.

According to Russian websites the first two ship of the task force to enter the Black Sea USS Vicksburg and TCG Turgutreis were greeted by Russian Su-24 and Su-30 warplanes.

Status Update on Russian Warships In The Black Sea

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Russian training ship Perekop making a northbound passage through Bosphorus in July 2013.

 

The informative and excellent Ukrainian website Black Sea New reported that the Russian training ship Perekop is being repaired in Varna Naval shipyard.

Training ship of the 1st rank “Perekop” (200) complete repairs on the Bulgarian shipyard “Naval Arsenal” (Varna) in July 2015, reports Flot.com . At present, Russian designers are beginning to test samples of hull structures and cables to determine the remaining life of the ship.
As reported BSNews , “Perekop” (200) arrived in Varna 20 August 2013.

Mooring factory testing of the Criminal Code “Perekop” 877 project is expected to begin in the summer of 2015. This information is placed in the record of procurement “51 Central Design and Technological Institute of ship repair” the Defense Ministry, establish the technical documentation for the repair and modernization of the ship.”

In the mean time the Krivak class frigate Ladny, made a post repair acceptance sail.

“Patrol ship “Well,” returned to base in Sevastopol with its maiden voyage after repairs to the “13 ship-repair factory of the Black Sea Fleet.”
Sources Central Navy Portal on the Black Sea Fleet told that TFR “OK” in the morning of December 17, 2014 from 12 mooring berth of Sevastopol and went on his first outing in the sea after the repair.
Head of Press Service of the Black Sea Fleet, Vyacheslav Trukhachev confirmed that the plan “OK” has already had to start the combat training missions.
The base ship returned on 19 December. Thus, the campaign ship lasted 1.5 days. TSVMP learned that for many sailors the access to the sea was the first. “Well,” made ​​a trip along the Crimean coast line, in which the sailors worked actions during various alarms and got acquainted with the equipment of the ship. In 2013 – 2014 years in the “13 ship-repair Factory Black Sea Fleet “was held in Sevastopol ship repair, which was completed in the summer of 2014.”

SNMG-2 Arrives In Varna

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HMCS Toronto entering into Varna harbour. Photo: Nikolay Zlatev. Used with permission.

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ESPS Almirante Juan De Borbon arriving in Varna harbour.  Photo: Nikolay Zlatev. Used with permission.

Task Unit 2 of SNMG-2 consisting of F-102 ESPS Almirante Juan De Borbon and Canadian frigate FHH-333 HMCS Toronto arrived in Varna Bulgaria today.

Led by Commander Jason Armstrong (Royal Canadian Navy), SNMG2 TU.02 is currently composed of HMCS TORONTO (Royal Canadian Navy) and AMIRALTE JUAN de BORBON (Spanish Navy).  SNMG2 is visiting the port as part of the Group’s deployment to the Black Sea to enhance maritime security and NATO’s readiness in the region.

“This visit has been planned for quite some time, and in light of current events it; has become all the more significant,” said Commander Jason Armstrong, Commander SNMG2 TU.02. “We are delighted to come and train together, eager to enhance our mutual understanding, and eager to bring a strong message to Bulgarian people and to all Allied Nations regarding NATO’s resolve and commitment to collective defence.

Constanta, Romania was the Task Force’s previous port of call.

On 16 September 2014, under the banner of Standing NATO Maritime Group Two (SNMG2) Task Unit 02 (TU02), HMCS TORONTO, ESPS ALMIRANTE JUAN DE BORBON and ROS REGELE FERNIDAND have completed their 4 day visit to Constanta, Romania. The port visit served to reaffirm the Alliance’s commitment to maritime defence and security and reassure Black Sea NATO Allies.

“Our ships were honoured and humbled to be a part of NATO’s maritime visit to the historic city as Constanta, Romania,” said Commander Jason Armstrong, Commanding Officer of HMCS TORONTO and Commander of SNMG2 Task Unit 02 (SNMG2 TU02). “Our presence here serves to reaffirm NATO’s strong support and commitment to Alliance solidarity.”

Visit the excellent blog Sea Dog for more photos from SNMG-2.

Update On Breeze 2014 Naval Exercise

With the exception of Bulgarian participants I have more or less the complete list of the participants to this exercise:

Number Name Type Country
P-266 HS Machitis Patrol Craft Greece
F-582 ITS Aviere Frigate Italy
M-5561 ITS Rimini Mine Hunter Italy
F-222 ROS Regina Maria Frigate Romania
M-30 Alexandru Axente Mine Sweeper Romania
M-270 TCG Akçay Mine Hunter Turkey
P-1200 TCG Tuzla Patrol Craft Turkey
P-332 TCG Mızrak Fast Attack Craft Turkey
S-352 TCG Dolunay Submarine Turkey
M-37 HSM Chiddingfold Mine Hunter UK
CG-72 USS Vella Gulf Cruiser USA

In addition to the above mentioned naval units one P-3 Orion from US Navy and one CN-235 from Turkish Navy are also taking part in the exercise.

Breeze 2014 Naval Exercise

The Bulgarian Navy is hosting a nine day long naval exercise Breeze 2014.

The military exercise is to be held in the Western section of the Black Sea and is aimed at improving the tactical compatibility and collaboration among naval forces of the alliance’s member states.

Bulgaria’s port city of Burgas has peen picked to host the staff of the drills.

While Breeze 2014 is taking place, the staff of the Bulgarian Naval Forces will be certified for conformity of the level of planning independent operations to NATO criteria, according to the website pan.bg, specialized in defense issues.

The exercise, which ends July 13, starts amid stepped-up presence of alliance forces in the Black Sea over the Ukraine crisis and Russia’s decision to incorporate the Crimean peninsula in March this year. 

According to the information I have the following ships are taking part in the exercise:

 Number Name Type Country
F-582 ITS Aviere Frigate Italy
5561 ITS Rimini Mine Hunter Italy
M-37 HSM Chiddingfold Mine Hunter UK
M-270 TCG Akçay Mine Hunter Turkey
P-266 HS Machitis Patrol Craft Greece
S-352 TCG Dolunay Submarine Turkey
P-332 TCG Mızrak Fast Attack Craft Turkey
P-1200 TCG Tuzla Patrol Craft Turkey

As always I will appreciate any additional information about the participants.

Here is a nice video showing the arrival of the NATO SNMCMG-2 ships to Burgas.

French Warship FS Alizé Passed Through Bosphorus

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Mr. Kerim Bozkurt, an invaluable contributor to this blog also shared his photos of the FS Alizé as she passed through Bosphorus.

She is now in Varna, Bulgaria. According to The Voice of Russia she is going to take part in joint sea rescue exercises.

The photos below are taken from informative blog Sea Dog.

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Bulgaria Sold Its Submarine

The Bulgarian Navy decommissioned its sole Romeo (Project 633) class BNS Slava in 2011 and terminated Bulgaria’s submarine force after 94 years.

According to BlackSeaNews website the decommissioned bulk of the former BNS Slava was sold to a private company for €355 thousand.

The closed bidding Bulgarian submarine “Hope” sold nearly 710 thousand leva (355 euros) with a starting price of BGN 480 thousand (240 thousand euros). Her new owner was a Bulgarian trading company Fintron Bulgaria.

Reported by Ukrinform citing Bulgarian information portal maritime.bg.

According to experts, obsolete underwater vessel in its current state is a scrap. It was sold without weapons and other special equipment. Therefore, if the new owners decide to use a submarine for exotic travel, it will have to invest in its renovation of approximately seven million leva (3.5 million euros).

The former Soviet submarine S-36 was built on the Gorky factory “Red Sormovo” the average torpedo submarine unit. Boat launched on September 27, 1959, commissioned September 30, 1960.June 27, 2008 she was taken out of the Navy in Bulgaria. In April 2009, “Hope” was formally transferred to Varna city authorities to build her museum. But the boat was just standing.

After the withdrawal of November 1, 2011 from the Bulgarian Navy last submarine “Slava” (with the same type it “Hope”), it was decided to create a museum on it, as it is in the best condition.

How will the new owner to use the submarine was not reported.

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