USS Mount Whitney In Istanbul

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After drawing endless circles in the water for 20 days between 4 and 24 February 2014, the flagship of the 6th US Navy Fleet, USS Mount Whitney have arrived in Istanbul.

To be honest I was expecting her to pass through the Bosphorus and head straight for Mediterranean but she is conducting a well deserved port visit in Istanbul. I am expecting the US Navy frigate USS Taylor to pass through the Bosphorus. She has turned her AIS transponder off, yesterday. This means that she has left Samsun and is underway towards Istanbul. It seems that the repair work done to her propeller has worked and she is  underway under her own power.

The quality of the photos of USS Mount Whitney left much to be desired but it was raining heavy as she passed where I was standing and there was a very bitter and strong north wind. If the weather improves tomorrow I might have some better photos.

 

 

Maltese Naval Forces

Being an island at the middle of the Mediterranean, the Maritime Squadron of Armed Forces of Malta has a wide range of duties, including coast guard, customs, marine police, fisheries protection and search and rescue.

Melita 1

Melita 1, CP800 Vittoria Melita class search and rescue launch

P02

P02, Boomeranger class RHIB

P21

P21, P21 class inshore patrol vessel

P23

P23, P21 class inshore patrol vessel

P24

P24, P21 class inshore patrol vessel

P32

P32, Bremse class patrol boat

P51 kopya

P51, Protector class patrol boat

P51

P51, Protector class patrol boat

P52

P52, Protector class patrol boat

P61

P61, Diciotti class offshore patrol vessel. P61 is the flagship of Maltese Maritime Squadron.

P61_1

P61, Diciotti class offshore patrol vessel

RHIB

A RHIP of the Maltese Police.

Season’s Greetings

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I wish all my readers a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 2014.

Turkish Coast Guard Boats Get New Sensors

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I regret any misunderstanding that my previous post may have caused. I was just away temporary for a week-long holiday. That was all.

The photos you see above are the Coast Guard boats I have encountered during the week in various coastal towns.

The last photo of the SG-80 TCSG-80 is the most interesting of them all for me. As you can see below enlarged, Turkish Coast Guard has started to install a thermal imaging system to its boats. This is long-due addition to these boats sensors. This particular sensor suite look very similar to Aselsan’s Falconeye electro-optical sensor system. If this is the case than the system has thermal imaging system, a high performance day TV, target acquisition system and a laser pointer. Four boats of various classes have received this new sensor already. Read more of this post

Fifth Anniversary

Today marks the fifth anniversary of this blog.

This is my 976th post, thus I post 195 entries per year on average. In 2011 I had 568 views per day, in 2012 it was 686. This year it is 831. Not bad for a very specialized blog with a very focused content. 

To be honest I had no idea how long and how far I could travel along this path when I started this blog. Now I realize that it opened a new chapter in my life. Through this blog I was able to meet with a lot of people -most of them online, some of them in person- who shared my interest in maritime affairs in this region.

I would like to thank each and every one who has contributed to this blog. I hope you are enjoying reading this blog as much as I’m enjoying writing it.

Victory Day 2013 (Part 2)

TCG Gediz with her new Smart Mk2 3D radar

TCG Gediz with her new Smart Mk2 3D radar

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This year F-243 TCG Yıldırım, F-244 TCG Barbaros and F-495 TCG Gediz were in Istanbul to commemorate the 91th anniversary of the victory in the Battle of Dumlupınar, the final battle in the Turkish War of Independence in 1922.

All the ships were open to the public and for me the highlight was the CIC of the TCG Gediz.

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SG5

Turkish Coast Guard vessels TCSG-5 and TCSG-312 also took part in the celebrations.

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I was also able to take the photo of another coast guard vessel. The pedestal at the end of the cabin is similar to the pedestal on P-141 TCG Yunus-1 and P-142 TCG Yunus-2 in Turkish Navy service. This pedestal is a clear indicator the Turkish Coast Guard will install remote-controlled machine gun platform STAMP on these vessels.

Jane’s Fighting Ships 2013

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I have just received my complimentary copy of this years Jane’s fighting Ships.

I am glad to see that most of the photos,I have shared through this blog are also found their place in this extraordinary book too.

Every year since 1991, I feel the same excitement and joy when hold that years edition for the first time.

Photos Of SPS Blas De Lezo And TCG Salihreis

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The flagship of the SNMG-2, Spanish frigate F-103 SPS Blas De Lezo in İstanbul.

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The hanger of the SPS Blas De Lezo, seen from her landing pad.

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The mast of the SPS Blas De Lezo.

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One of the four SPY-1D radar arrays of the SPS Blas De Lezo.

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The detailed view of one of the four SPY-1D radar arrays of the SPS Blas De Lezo.

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The starboard side of the superstructure of SPS Blas De Lezo.

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SPS Blas De Lezo, docked in İstanbul.

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SPS Blas De Lezo, docked in İstanbul.

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TCG Salihreis with her new Smart-S Mk2 3D radar.

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TCG Salihreis docked in İstanbul.

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TCG Salihreis docked in İstanbul.

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The starboard side of TCG Salihreis.

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The detail view of the Smart-S Mk2 3D radar on board of TCG Salihreis.

SNMG-2 Press Conference On Board SPS Blas De Lezo

From left to right: Commander Levent Bingöl , Rear Admiral Eugenio Diaz Del Rio, Commander Fernando Alvarez Blanco

On 24 July 2013 late afternoon NATO’s Standing Maritime Group 2 (SNMG-2) arrived in Istanbul.

The group was in the Black Sea since 5 July and visited Bulgaria, and Ukraine and conducted training with Bulgarian and Romanian naval units.

Currently, SNMG-2 consists of the Spanish frigate F-103 SPS Blas De Lezo and Turkish frigate F-246 TCG Salihreis

I was invited to the press conference on board of SPS Blas De Lezo on 25 July 2013. It was my third visit of a Spanish warship but my first press conference so it was quite an interesting event.

Rear Admiral Eugenio Diaz Del Rio is the current commander of the Maritime Group 2, for a period of a year starting June 15th 2013.
He, with the commander of the SPS Blas De Lezo Commander Fernando Alvarez Blanco and the commander of TCG Salihreis Commander Levent Bingöl answered the question of the press.

Real Admiral Diaz Del Rio explained that there will two different stages during his command. In the first stage SNMG-2 will remain mainly in the Mediterranean and in the Black Sea and will support NATO’s Operation Active Endevour and take part in naval exercises Doğu Akdeniz organized by Turkish Navy, Briliant Mariner/Mare Aperto by Italy or Naias by Greece.

In the second stage in 2014 will relived SNMG-1 in the Gulf of Aden and will take the responsibly of the NATO’s anti-piracy operation Ocean Shield for the first 6 months.

He also told that the current composition of SNMG is going to change in late August as more warships will join the group.

Upon my question how he would elaborate this the Black Sea cruise of the SNMG-2 he told that being in the Black sea was interesting as a member of the Spanish Navy he did not had many opportunities to be there. The training of SNMG-2 with the Bulgarian and Romanian naval units was in his opinion very good and helped these NATO navies in gaining the experiences other older NATO navies already have.

Real Admiral Diaz Del Rio compared this force to the fire fighters and said “We must always be ready for any kind of situation emerging in our area. We do not have luxury of saying we need 24 hours to be ready”

He also praised the support of Turkish Navy. SNMG-2 was refueled by Turkish oiler 3 times when it was in the Black Sea. Real Admiral Diaz Del Rio informed that during his tour as Staff Operations Officer at NATO’S Standing Naval Force in the Mediterranean (STANAVFORMED) in 2000 he was stationed on board of a Turkish ship and had a very good working relations with Turkish Navy.

The admiral answered my question whether a plan at NATO level or at national level for Spain existed to position AEGIS platforms such as the frigate Blas De Lezo on the Black Sea, to support NATO initiative to provide a BMD for Europe by saying that NATO was to provide command and control for the BMD system components and every participating nation was going to provide their equipment accordingly.

Upon a question how it feels to have an admiral and his staff on board the commander of the SPS Blas De Lezo Commander Fernando Alvarez Blanco said that Real Admiral Diaz Del Rio, was his boss in their previous tenure and they have been working together for a long time.

Commander Blanco also told that Turkish delegations have visited the frigate and they have been extensively briefed about the working of the AEGIS system. He also told us that the AEGIS system was working well in coastal/littoral Sea such as the Mediterranean or the Black Sea especially if you have a previous knowledge of the area and the expected threads.

Russian Warship Movements Through Turkish Straits (Part 19)

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Russian Ropucha class landing ship 151 Azov, passing through the Bosphorus on her way back to Sevastopol.

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Russian Alligator class landing ship 152 Nikolay Filchenkov, passing through the Bosphorus on her way back to Sevastopol.

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Russian Ropucha class landing ship 151 Azov, passing through the Bosphorus on her way back to Sevastopol.

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Russian Alligator class landing ship 152 Nikolay Filchenkovpassing through the Bosphorus on her way back to Sevastopol.

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As usual, Turkish Coast Guard escorted the foreign warships.

As you can see from the photos I have taken on 26 July 2013 Friday, two more Russian warships have passed through the Turkish Straits.

 

According to BBC, Russian Black Sea Fleet ships have to leave their base in Sevastopol, Ukraine and sail to international waters in order to a refill.

Russia has stopped fuelling the famous Black Sea Fleet at its naval base in a bid to avoid taxes, it’s reported.

A fleet has been based at Sevastopol, in today’s Ukraine, since the late 18th Century and the site will remain in Russia’s hands until 2042. But it seems the Russian Foreign Ministry is unhappy at the level of VAT and customs duty charged by its host “without legal justification”. An unnamed diplomat told the Interfax news agency: “The fuelling of Russian Black Sea Fleet ships on Ukrainian territorial waters stopped last autumn in order to save money.”

Apparently, leaving Ukrainian waters to top up the tank has saved Russia 180m roubles (£3.6m). The fleet had already moved its repair operations to Bulgaria, Interfax notes. The port’s status remains contentious. Though founded by Russia, Sevastopol was transferred to the Ukrainian soviet republic in the 1950s. And when Ukraine broke away – in 1991 – the port went with it, leaving sailors to decide which country’s navy to serve. The decision to extend Russia’s lease – in exchange for cheap gas – sparked punch-ups in Kiev’s parliament three years ago.

So this is the latest tally of Russian warship movements

Date Number Name Direction
27/12/12 151 Azov Southbound
27/12/12 152 Nikolay Filchenkov Southbound
01/01/13 142 Novocharkassk Southbound
09/01/13 152 Nikolay Filchenkov Northbound
09/01/13 151 Azov Northbound
12/01/13 142 Novocharkassk Northbound
14/01/13 102 Kaliningrad Northbound
14/01/13 110 Alexander Shabalin Northbound
16/01/13 151 Azov Southbound
04/02/13 151 Azov Northbound
04/02/13 150 Saratov Northbound
04/02/13 810 Smetlivy Northbound
04/02/13 Ivan Bubnov Northbound
05/02/13 110 Moskva Northbound
07/02/13 102 Kaliningrad Northbound
07/02/13 110 Alexander Shabalin Northbound
08/02/13 Kildin Northbound
20/02/13 102 Kaliningrad Southbound
20/02/13 110 Alexander Shabalin Southbound
25/03/13 102 Kaliningrad Northbound
25/03/13 110 Alexander Shabalin Northbound
11/04/13 102 Kaliningrad Southbound
11/04/13 110 Alexander Shabalin Southbound
14/04/13 151 Azov Southbound
26/04/13 PM-138 PM-138 Southbound
24/04/13 102 Kaliningrad Northbound
24/04/13 110 Alexander Shabalin Northbound
24/04/13 Dubna Northbound
30/04/13 102 Kaliningrad Southbound
05/05/13 PM-56 PM-56 Northbound
05/05/13 152 Nikolay Filchenkov Northbound
11/05/13 102 Kaliningrad Northbound
11/05/13 110 Alexander Shabalin Northbound
11/05/13 151 Azov Northbound
19/05/13 151 Azov Southbound
 /05/13 151 Nikolay Filchenkov Southbound
23/05/13 077 Peresvet Northbound
23/05/13 055 Admiral Nevelskoi Northbound
27/05/13 151 Azov Northbound
27/05/13 151 Nikolay Filchenkov Northbound
10/06/13 CCB-201 Priazove Southbound
17/06/13 152 Nikolay Filchenkov Southbound
20/06/13 102 Kaliningrad Southbound
20/06/13 110 Alexander Shabalin Southbound
01/07/13 102 Kaliningrad Northbound
01/07/13 110 Alexander Shabalin Northbound
03/07/13 MB-304 MB-304 Southbound
03/07/13   Ivan Bubnov Southbound
03/07/13 120 Moskva Southbound
13/07/13 102 Kaliningrad Southbound
25/07/13 200 Perekop Northbound
26/07/13 152 Nikolay Filchenkov Northbound
26/07/13 151 Azov Northbound
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