TCG Enez In Italian Minex 2015


Engin class mine hunter of Turkish Navy, TCG Enez during Italian Minex 2015. Photo: Italian Navy.

M-262 TCG Enez, Engin class mine hunter from Turkish Navy is taking part in Italian mine warfare exercise Italian Minex 2015 as part of NATO SNMCMG-2.

The training involves all the staff and facilities of the strength of mine countermeasures based in La Spezia and forces European and NATO mine countermeasures, including Spain, Germany, France, Greece, Slovenia, Turkey and the participation of observers from different Nations such as Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Brazil, Croatia, Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, the United States, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates and Qatar.

The purpose of the exercise is to train the staff, employed on board and ashore, to plan and conduct effective remediation of the seabed by working in a scenario that plays, as realistically as possible, a situation of crisis in which the threat is not It is predictable. The task force will be able to make a complete mapping of the seabed are able to discover, locate and identify any object visually / threat present beneath the surface.

This is the list of the other participants as far as could find:

Number Name Type Nationality
M-645 FNS Orion Minehunter France
M-1063 FGS Bad Bevensen Minehunter Germany
M-63 HN Kallisto Minehunter Greece
5556 ITS Alghero Minehunter Italy
M-31 ESPS Seguna Minehunter Spain
M-32 ESPS Sella Minehunter Spain
M-262 TCG Enez Minehunter Turkey

SNMG-2 Arrives In Varna


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


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


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


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


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.

From The Archive (6)

My captured picture

This is Italian warship D-551 ITS Audace. Armed with a 127mm main gun 4 76mm secondary guns, Sea Sparrow and SM-1 Standard anti-air missiles and Otomat anti ship missiles she was a deadly ship. This photo is probably taken in 1992.


The Participants Of Brilliant Mariner 2013

One of the NATO’s largest exercise Brilliant Mariner 2013 is continuing in the Mediterranean.

The exercise, which will end on 6 October 2013, will take place in the Tyrrhenian Sea between Sicily and Sardinia.

Over five thousand military and naval personnel from 12 NATO nations comprising Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany , Italy, Latvia, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States will participate in this major annual exercise.

25 warships, including one aircraft carrier, 12 frigates, one amphibious warfare ship, one auxiliary ship and 7 mines countermeasures vessels will be involved, alongside a wide variety of aircraft, submarines and embarked marines. Two submarines and a Maritime Patrol Aircraft will also take part.

I was able to compile the most of the participating ships with the help of Russian radio scanners:

Number Name Type Country
C-550 ITS Cavour Aircraft Carrier Italy
D-554 ITS Caio Duilio Destroyer Italy
D-561 ITS Francesco Mimbelli Destroyer Italy
F-571 ITS Grecale Frigate Italy
F-574 ITS Aliseo Frigate Italy
F-576 ITS Espero Frigate Italy
F-557 ITS Fenice Corvette Italy
P-490 ITS Comandante Cigala Fulgosi OPV Italy
P-493 ITS Comandante Foscari OPV Italy
L-9893 ITS San Marco LPD Italy
A-5327 ITS Stromboli Tanker Italy
F-103 ESPS Blas De Lezo Frigate Spain
F-246 TCG Salihreis Frigate Turkey
F-219 FGS Sachsen Frigate Germany
F-218 FGS Meclenburg- Vorpommern Frigate Germany
S-522 ITS Salvatore Pelosi Submarine Italy
S-358 TCG Çanakkale Submarine Turkey
A-512 FGS Mosel Tender Germany
M-1061 FGS Rottweil Mine hunter Germany
M-264 TCG Erdemli Mine hunter Turkey
5558 ITS Crotone Mine hunter Italy
5552 ITS Milazzo Mine hunter Italy

Any additions and corrections are most welcome.

Italian Carrier Cavour Arrived In Marmaris

Italian aircraft carrier ITS C-550 Cavour in Marmaris.

Italian aircraft carrier ITS C-550 Cavour in Marmaris. Photos:

The Italian aircraft carrier C-550 ITS Cavour arrived in Marmaris as planned, today.

The Italian task force commanded by Rear Admiral Carlo Massagli, consists of carrier ITS C-550 Cavour, destroyer D-554 ITS Calio Dulio and the fleet tanker A-5327 ITS Stromboli.

The destroyer and the tanker have docked at the Aksaz Naval Base adjacent to the touristic town of Marmaris. The highly visible aircraft carrier however docked at the port in Marmaris usually used by large passenger ships.

According to Wikipedia, Cavour was laid down by Fincantieri on 17 July 2001, and she was launched from the RivaTrigoso shipyard in SestriLevante, on 20 July 2004.

The ship is designed to combine fixed wing V/STOL and helicopter air operations, command and control operations and the transport of military or civil personnel and heavy vehicles. The 134 metre, 2,800 m2 hangar space can double as a vehicle hold capable of holding up to 24 main battle tanks  or many more lighter vehicles, and is fitted aft with access ramps rated to 70 tons, as well as two elevators rated up to 30 tons for aircraft. Cavour can also operate as Landing Platform Helicopter (LPH), accommodating heavy transport helicopters and 325 marines.

The ship is armed with following weapons:

  • 4 × 8 cell A-43 Sylver launchers carrying the MBDA Aster 15 surface to air missile
  • 2 × Oto Melara 76/62 mm Super Rapido gun
  • 3 × Oerlikon Contraves25/80 mm AA gun

The Italian ships will stay in Marmaris until 12th February 2013.

Click here for the video of Cavour in Marmaris.

Click here for more photos.


Italian Aircraft Carrier ITS Cavour Will Visit Marmaris

Tomorrow, on 9th February 2013 the Italian aircraft carrier C-550 ITS Cavour will start a port visit in Marmaris, Muğla.

The Andrea Doria class destroyer D-554 ITS Calio Dulio and the fleet tanker A-5327 ITS Stromboli are escorting the aircraft carrier. The destroyer and the tanker are going to dock in Aksaz Naval Base adjacent to the town of Marmaris where as the aircraft carrier will dock to the pier reserved for large passenger ships in Marmaris town where she will be highly visible to everyone.

What’s good is an aircraft carrier if you cannot show off with it? Right.

Smetlivy Left Italy after Repairs

According to Russian website, the Russian destroyer Smetlivy left Italy.

She was in the Mediterranean Sea to take part in the joint Russo-Italian naval exercise IONIEX-2012.  Smetlivy apparently suffered a problem with her fuel system so that it was necessary to repair her in Taranto naval base. She will join other Russian ships already in the Mediterranean and they will altogether sail to Gulf of Aden to combat piracy.

It was earlier said that one of oil pump blocks was broken down on BSF destroyer Smetlivy that had called at Italian port Taranto after completion of the IONIEX-2012 joint naval exercise. The ship’s commanding staff decided to ask Italian partners to help. 

In order to eliminate the failure found in the Russian destroyer, Italian Navy’s workshops made the needed parts in a day. When the crew had finished all repair works, Smetlivy departed from Taranto in the evening of Nov 13 and is currently heading for assigned zone in the Mediterranean Sea. 

BSF task group consisting of Guards missile cruiser Moskva, landing ship Saratov, and replenishment tanker Ivan Bubnov is performing combat training tasks in the East Mediterranean. 

The ships are holding joint tactical drills practicing short-range antisubmarine and antiaircraft warfare. It is planned to conduct watch officer drills, train signalmen and radar operators, and carry out damage control drills. 

The task group will be soon reinforced by BSF landing ship Novocherkassk which is to pass the Black Sea Straits in the next few days. 

Late in Nov, the task group will pass the Suez Canal and start anti-piracy mission near the Horn of Africa early in Dec, reports Russian defense ministry


SNMCMG-2 Conducted Exercise With Italian Navy

ESPS M-31 Segura and M-268 TCG Akçakoca maneuvering during ITA MINEX 2012. Official NATO photo.

According to NATO, the Standing NATO Mine Counter Measures Group 2 (SNMCMG2) ended its participation in Italian Minex 12, an annual exercise directed by the Italian Navy MCM Forces Command

The Exercise Started on 14th May and ended on 28th May, involved 14 naval units from Italy and SNMCMG2 as well as bomb-disposal specialists from Italy and France. The NATO Underwater Research Centre (NURC) also participated with autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) capable of carrying out underwater inspections in support of MCM operations.

The Group is maintained at high-readiness and can deploy as required by the Alliance even at strategic distance. It is made up of ships from various Allied nations which train and operate together throughout the year and participate in numerous exercises conducted by the Alliance, as a mine-countermeasure force. The primary task is to defend sea routes from the underwater mine threat. As a secondary task the group collects important data on the marine environment and sea bottom, which contributes to scientific research.

SNMG-2 Is Heading To Djibouti

Families and onlookers wave farewell to SNMG2 flagship TCG Giresun as she sails to meet up with ITS Grecale and pass through Suez. Photo: SNMG2

According to NATO, SNMG-2 has passed through the Suez Canal some time between December 2nd and today and the task force consisting of Turkish flagship F-491 TCG Giresun and Italian frigate F-571 ITS Grecale is sailing to Djibouti to join Task Force 508.

 TCG GIRESUN, the new flagship of Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 recently rendezvoused in the eastern Mediterranean with Italian frigate ITS GRECALE. 
The Group has now passed through passed the Suez Canal and is sailing to Djibouti to join Task Force 508.

SNMG 2 is a multinational integrated maritime force that forms part of the NATO Response Force and operates under the command of the Allied Maritime Command in Naples. Permanently activated and held at high readiness, it is a mobile and flexible force that allows the Alliance to respond to today’s security challenges.  SNMG2 is currently under the command of Rear Admiral (LH) Sinan Azmi TOSUN, Turkish Navy.

According to Turkish Navy, after the rendezvous in Djibouti the composition of Task Force 508 will be as follows:

F-491 TCG Giresun (Flagship) Turkey Frigate
F-571 ITS Grecale Italy Frigate
L-16 HDMS Absalon Denmark Frigate
DDG-64 USS Carney USA Destroyer
FFG-45 USS De Wert USA Frigate
A-387 HMS Fort Victoria UK Replenishment Tanker

Amerigo Vespucci In Istanbul 2011

Amerigo Vespucci in Istanbul for a stop over during 2011 cruise

Well I had to put the year on the headline as I used the same headline two years ago when she was again in Istanbul. I think I am not imaginative enough when it comes to writing original headlines.

The oldest ship of the Italian Navy, has arrived today and will stay till 14 August when she will sail to Odessa, Ukraine.

This year the cadets of the Naval Academy embarked in Livorno, for the start of the 77th Training Campaign. The traditional activity has developed across the Mediterranean Sea, visiting the following ports:
• La Valletta from July 11th to 14th;
• Haifa from July 25th to 28th;
• Limassol from July 29th to August 02nd ;
• Istanbul from August 09 th to 14 th;
• Odessa from August 18 th to 22 th;
• Sebastopol from August 23 th to 27 th;
• Pireus from September 03 th to 07 th.

The excerpt below is from the press release of the Italian Consulate in Istanbul for the visit of the ship. In my view it sums up pretty good what one might do as public relations activities using a sailing ship.

Since it entered in service, the ship has been deployed every year for training cruises (except in 1940 because of the war, and in 1964, 1973 and 1997 because of maintenances), mainly for the cadets from Naval Academy. Also the students from Naval School “Morosini”, Navy petty officers and young members of several sailing associations (either Italian Naval League or Sailing Training Association Italy) took part to the training cruises. 

The training cruisers, carried out during the summer, last on average three months, visiting harbours mostly abroad; therefore, during these campaigns, the main training purpose are coupled to all the aspects aimed to represent the Country abroad. Concerning the training aspects, the cadets learn the basic rules “to live at sea” as well as all the specific teachings over the following subjects: seamanship, navigation (even the use of sextant to fix positions at sea by means of star observations), operation of drive systems and auxiliaries, management of logistic, administrative and medical issues. In order to do that, besides the practical activities, a series of conferences and classes given by the most experienced crew members; the apprenticeship and its results are checked at the end of the training cruise, by means of oral and written tests.

Besides several short campaigns over Mediterranean Sea, mostly carried out so far 75 training cruises dedicated to the cadets attending the first year at the Naval Academy: 39 campaigns were carried out over northern Europe, 14 in Mediterranean Sea, 5 through Eastern Atlantic Ocean, 6 in Mediterranean Sea and Black Sea, 7 over North America, 1 over South America, one over Central America and 2 during the unique circumnavigation of the planet, carried out between May 2002 and September 2003 (throughout this period the ship was involved in all the activities related to the America’s Cup in New Zealand).

The longest navigation counts 28 days, in 2000 during the Race of the Century, form Cadiz (Spain) to Bermuda Islands.

The Amerigo Vespucci has got not only the aim forming the next Navy officers, but also represents the ambassador of Italian culture and seamanship, taking part to several events all over the world.

Among the most significant ones there are: the crowning ceremony of Elizabeth the 2nd in 1953 in London, the celebrations for the return of Triest to Italy in 1954 (and the 50th anniversary in 2004),the celebrations for bicentenary of U.S.A. in 1976 and the French Revolution ones, in 1989, the Columbus Day celebrations in the 5th centenary in 1992 in America. Among the most recent ones the ship took part to America’s Cup organization in New Zealand in 2002‐2003, the Olympic Games in Athens 2004, the bicentenary of the battle of Trafalgar in 2005 in Portsmouth and to the 90th anniversary celebrations for the end of World War I in Civitavecchia (port of Rome) in 2008. In 2007 she was also nominated “Goodwill Ambassador” by UNICEF in Genova. During the Training Campaign in 2008 the ship took part to the “Armada”, event taking place in Rouen (France) together with many sail ships and warships from all over the world, celebrating the French National Day in a greatly emphasized environment with remarkable presence of massmedia and public.

My regular readers may have been noticed that I have a weakness for sailing ships. This is the comment I wrote two years ago. And I am still standing to it.

The lack of sail training ships in inventory of Turkish Navy is in my opinion one important ommission.

There is no better way than sailing and challenging the elements, in order to develop good ship handling skills and a feeling for the sea. Today’s naval war fighting has become something like an arcade game. All command, control and communication are done in the bowels of the ship. Yet a commander of any kind of warship must be a sailor first.



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