The BlackSeaFor Activation Continues

The Commander of the BlackSeaFor task force ships. Photo: Black Sea News. Used with permission

The Commander of the BlackSeaFor task force ships. Photo: Black Sea News. Used with permission

While the French, The Cypriots and the Turkish navies are busy in simulating searching and rescuing distressed people in the seas, the navies of the Black Sea countries are continuing the April 2013 activation the BlackSeaFor.

Interestingly the ships of the BlackSeaFor task force did simulated a search and rescue operation in high sea among themselves.

The excellent Black Sea News has a very good posting about the Black Sea For.

Also, during a training exercise on the transition from Varna to Constanta on the ships received a sudden opening of the command BLACKSEAFOR. At some point, every ship conditionally breaks down the steering, and crews conducted training on the transition from primary to spare and emergency management vehicles.

Not without one of the most important episodes of the exercise – the search and rescue of people at sea. With Turkish helicopter into the water was dumped mannequin man. At this time, the ships were in international squadron of fifteen miles away, at a distance of a mile of each other. The task of each crew were the first to discover and climb aboard the “victim.”

Here distinguished Ukrainian crew of sea trawler “Cherkasy”, commanded by Captain 3rd Rank Yuri Fedash.

By his order on the ship was enhanced visual observation of the water area above the water with the help of all shipboard optical devices. Upon arrival to the area of ​​Ukrainian sailors first discovered the “victim” on the surface of the sea, and successfully lifted on board. At the end of the first stage of the exercise of sea ships Black Sea Naval Cooperation Task Group BLACKSEAFOR stopped to rest in the Romanian port of Constanta.

Read the whole text here.

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The April Activation Of The BlackSeaFor Has Started

The warships participating in the April 2013 activation of the BlackSeaFor have arrived in Varna, Bulgaria for the event kick off.

This is a video from Russian website tvzvezda.ru about the Russian participation, but many other ships are seen in the video too.

Click here to watch the video

The April 2013 Activation Of The BlackSeaFor

Turkish Milgem class corvette F-511 TCG Heybeliada. The flagship of the BlackSeaFor task force.

Turkish Milgem class corvette F-511 TCG Heybeliada. The flagship of the BlackSeaFor task force. This photo was taken during the August 2012 Activation of the BlackSeaFor.

The warships of Bulgaria, Georgia, Romania, Russia, Ukraine and Turkey will take part in the April 2013 activation of the BlackSeaFor between 5 and 23 of April.

The warship of the BlackseaFor, under the Command of Turkish Navy, will spend 6 days on the sea and 13 days visiting Varna, Constanta and Sevastopol. During this activation search and rescue training, simulation training and navigation, tactical maneuvering and communication training will be conducted.

The Milgem class corvette F-511 TCG Heybeliada will be the flagship of the BlackSeaFor.

Following ships will take part in the April 2013 activation:

Number
Name
Nation
Type
F-511 TCG Heybeliada (Flagship) Turkey Corvette
142 RFS Novocherkassk Russia Frigate
13 BGS Reshitelni Bulgaria Corvette
265 ROS C.A. Horia Macellariu Romania Corvette
U-311 UPS Cherkasy Ukraine Minehunter
P-24 GCG Sokhumi Georgia Patrol Boat

The Russian large landing ship 142 RFS Novocherkassk.
This photo was taken during the August 2012 Activation of the BlackSeaFor.

The Bulgarian Corvette 13 BGS Reshitelni. This photo was taken during the April 2012 Activation of the BlackSeaFor.

The Bulgarian Corvette 13 BGS Reshitelni. This photo was taken during the April 2012 Activation of the BlackSeaFor.

The Romanian Tetal 2 class corvette 265 Contraamiral Horia Macellariu. This photo was taken during the August 2012 Activation of the BlackSeaFor.

The Romanian Tetal 2 class corvette 265 Contraamiral Horia Macellariu. This photo was taken during the August 2012 Activation of the BlackSeaFor.

This photo was taken during the April 2012 Activation of the BlackSeaFor.

The Ukrainian mine hunter U-311 UPS Cherkasy. This photo was taken during the April 2012 Activation of the BlackSeaFor.

This photo was taken during the April 2011 Activation of the BlackSeaFor.

The Georgian Patrol Boat P-24 GCG Sokhumi. This photo was taken during the April 2011 Activation of the BlackSeaFor.

Romanian Frigate Returns From Pirate Hunting While Ukraine Plans To Send One

The Romanian frigate F-221 ROS Regele Ferdinand will be returning home shortly. She left Romania in mid September and sailed the seas off the coast of Somalia as a part of EU’s anti piracy operation Atalanta.

The crew from Romanian frigate ROS Regele Ferdinand are proud to be sailing home to their base port of Constanta after completing Romania’s first counter piracy operation as part of the EU Naval Force (EU NAVFOR) Somalia, Operation Atalanta.

ROS Regele Ferdinand joined EU NAVFOR at the beginning of October and after sailing from Djibouti on 3 October, the warship commenced counter-piracy patrols in the internationally recommended transit corridor (IRTC) in the Gulf of Aden.  She also escorted a World Food Programme (WFP) ship along the Somali Coast to ensure much-needed food arrived safely in to Somalia to help feed her people.

During her time with EU NAVFOR, the warship also conducted seven ‘friendly approach’ missions. Friendly approaches are conducted to gather intelligence by speaking with fishing communities and trading vessels in the area of operations, and to help make masters and crews aware of Best Management Practices (BMP) for protection against pirates in the region.

In the meantime Ukraine is planing to send their frigate Getman Sagaidachny to Gulf Of Aden to take part in the anti-piracy operations in the region.

It is planned to deploy Ukrainian frigate Getman Sagaidachny to East African coast in order to fight sea piracy, reports Ukrainian Navy Press Center referring to the Navy Commander Yury Ilyin.

The commander stressed that Ukrainian Navy would resume its presence in certain zones of the Black and the Mediterranean seas. In particular, it is planned that frigate Getman Sagaidachny with a helicopter and a special-task unit aboard will be deployed near the Horn of Africa as a part of the international anti-piracy campaign, says the press-release.
Yury Ilyin said at the Navy Council session that the year of 2012 was a breakthrough in arms recovery. In the current year, financing of ship repair works was five times as large as in previous years.
Presently, we continue this work, but even now one can say with confidence that early in 2013 the fleet’s core will comprise 11 warships fully ready for combat use, emphasized the Navy commander. He added that Ukrainian Navy would also have 10 aircraft and 31 supply vessels.

It is not clear to which anti piracy task force the Ukraine frigate will join.

Romanian Frigate Regele Ferdinand Departed To Join Atalanta

F-221 Regele Ferdinand leaving Romania. Photo: Resboiu.ro

The Romanian frigate F-221 Regele Ferdinand left Constanta to join the EU anti piracy task force Atalanta.

According to Romanian website Resboiu.ro this is the first participation of Romanian ships in anti-piracy operations.

Last year the ship participated under NATO command in the Mediterranean Sea in Operation Active Endeavour and in  Operation Unified Protector against Libya.

Also for the first time a frigate to participate in an international mission with Puma helicopter aboard Naval craft.
The ship passed through the Turkish Straits on 14th September 2012.

The BlackSeaFor Task Force Sailed Into The The Black Sea.

Turkish Milgem class corvette F-511 TCG Heybeliada. The flagship of the BlackSeaFor task force.

The Bulgarian minesweeper 62 BGS Shkval

The Russian large landing ship 142 RFS Novocherkassk

The Romanian Tetal 2 class corvette 265 Contraamiral Horia Macellariu

The Ukrainian command ship U-510 Slavutich

Yesterday, after the command handover ceremony in Gölcük Naval Base, the 5 ships participating to this activation of the BlackSeaFor sailed away to their next port of call Trabzon, Istanbul. In order to this they had to pass through Bosphorus, where I was expecting them, as you can see from the photos above.

The August Activation Of The BlackSeaFor

F-511 TCG Heybeliada. The new flagship of the BlackSeaFor.

The August activation of BlackSeaFor will start today with a ceremony in Gölcük Naval Base, Izmit, Turkey.

The Russian Navy will hand over the command of the BlackSeaFor to Turkey. The activation of the BlackSeaFor will end on 24th August. During that time the task force will conduct several exercises and will visit Trabzon, Turkey and Novorossiysk, Russia.

Number
Name
Nation
Type
F-511 TCG Heybeliada (Flagship) Turkey Corvette
U-510 UPS Slavutich Ukraine Command Ship
141 RFS Novocherkassk Russia Large Landing Ship
F-265 Contraamiral Horia Macellariu Romania  Corvette
62 BGS Shkval Bulgaria Minesweeper

I was not able to identify the participating unit from Bulgaria and Romania. Any information regarding this ship these ships is welcome. Thanks to Mr. Mommsen from the excellent German maritime magazine Marineforum, I have all the information I needed about the participating ships.

The Activity Of PLAN Ships In The Black Sea (Part 2)

There is she! The PLAN frigate Yantai, arriving at Constanta port, Romania. Photo: Xinhua/Gabriel Petrescu

Yesterday, when I have reported about the Sevastopol visit of the PLAN destroyer Quigdao, I have asked where the PLAN frigate Yantai have disappeared. Today she has appeared in Constanta, Romania for an official visit until 4th August 2012.

This answers my question about the whereabout of the Chinese warships in the Black Sea. The replenishment tanker Weishan Hu 887 is still unaccounted for.

According to excellent Romanian military blog resboiu.ro the frigate Yantai will conduct a good will visit in Romania. This is the google translation of the blog post for more details:

Corroborating information on Romanian Navy website and published in the newspaper Old citing news agency ITAR-TASS, we announce the following:– Chinese ships entered the Black Sea at the invitation of Ukraine;

– Two Chinese ships were involved in anti-piracy mission in Gulf of Aden desfpăşurată;
– Destroyer Qingdao will make a stopover in Sevastopol between 31 July and 5 August;
– Yan-Tai frigate will be calling at the port of Constanta in period 31 July to 4 August.
Regarding the visit of Chinese ship in the port of Constanta, find the press release no. 34 issued by the Romanian Navy General Staff, the following:

On this occasion the Chinese sailors will be welcomed by the local civil and military, will visit the frigate “Regina Maria” school ship “Mircea” The Romanian Navy Museum and participate in sports competitions with Romanian soldiers sailors at Naval Academy “Mircea “. Also, the crew will visit some tourist attractions in Constanta.

For more photos of Yantai in Constanta click here.

On Board Of The BlackSeaFor Ships

As I have reported earlier, the ships of the BlackSeafor fleet visited Istanbul between 20 and 23 April 2012. They were open to the public and I took the opportunity to visit them all.

It was an interesting experience for me as I was able to compare different ships build by very different construction standards and naval traditions in a very short period of time.

The first thing that struck me was how important it is to create a common communication capability among the ships of different nations when creating a multinational task force. The guides on the foreign ships were very friendly and they could even have been very talkative if I was able to speak their native language.

The first ship on the tour was the flagship of this activation the Rophuca (Project 775) class landing ship of Russian Navy Tsesar Kunikov.

The rivets on Tsesar Kunikov joining the aluminum superstructure and steel hull.

The tour was limited to the outside of the ship. The hull where the military cargo is loaded was made of steel, where the superstructure is made of aluminum to save weight I guess. This explains why there are so many rivets on side of the ship where the superstructure meets the hull. The parts of the ship made from different metals were joined by rivets in an old fashioned way rather than by welding.

An intensive network of water pipes and sprinklers was visible on the outer hull of the ship. I believe the main use of this system to was the ship against nuclear fall-out. But I think such system is very handy to fight a potential fire considering the fatal and devastating fires happened on aluminum hulled ships.

I was positivity surprised to learn that we were able to take photo on board of the Russian ship. This might be my prejudices dating back before the fall of the Iron Curtain.

My quick peeks through the portholes showed me a very spartan and basic interior rooms. I would like to have more information about the habitat and sea worthiness of the ship if my guide was more fluent in English.

The second ship was the Turkish frigate TCG Yavuz. On board I was able to get all the information I could get from our guide as there was no language barrier but interestingly this ship was the only one were the visitors that to submit their mobile phones ans cameras prior to the start of the tour.

One of the two RBU 6000 ASW mortar launchers on board C.A. Eustatiu Sebastian.

The next stop was the Romanian Improved Tetal class corvette C.A. Eustatiu Sebastian. Our guide told us that the primary mission of this ship was ASW. This explains the lack of any guided weapons on board. The main armament consists of 4 piece 533mm torpedo tubes. These were the largest torpedo tubes I have seen on board of a ship. If I did translate it correctly one of the tubes is used as garbage bin for plastic waste.

Although the Tetal class is a indigenous Romanian design, the Russian influence on the design of the ship thought the weapon and sensor systems is obvious. Besides TCG Yavuz, C.A. Eustatiu Sebastian was the only ship were we have been allowed inside of the ship. Our guide was working on this ship for that last 10 years as the helmsman.

One of the four 406mm torpedo tubes for Type 40 ASW torpedoes on board Reshitelni.

Next we have boarded the Bulgarian Pauk I class Reshitelni corvette. Like the Romanian ship the main role of this ship is ASW. There are ASW rockets, torpedo tubes and depth charges as main armament a 76mm gun for other operations and a close in weapon system for self defense. The usefulness of the variable depth sonar for ASW Operations in the Black Sea remains a mystery for me. An extensive piping for the external wash down system was a clear indicator for me that the Russians were really expecting the use of nuclear or chemical weapons at a conflict during the Cold War.

Mine sweeping gear on board Cherkasy

The last ship we have visited was the Ukrainian Natya I (project 266M) class mine sweeper Cherkasy. She is well armed for a mine sweeper compared to the ships with similar duties in most of the NATO navies. There are 4 turrets of 30mm guns and 2 turrets of 25mm guns. In comparison the newest Turkish mine hunters of Aydın class have one barreled 40mm gun turret.

All the mine sweeping is done by mechanical means in old school way. I have been told that there were no divers on board. The ship was crammed, so I guess it is not easy to work on the sweeping gear in rough seas.

The front 57mm/75 AK725 gun on Tsesar Kunikov

The port side UMS-73 missile launcher for Grad-M missiles on Tsesar Kunikov

Bass Tilt H/I band fire control radar on Tsesar Kunikov

Port side 533mm torpedo tubes for 53-65 torpedoes on C.A.E. Sebastian. The sign on the right one says "plastic garbage".

One of the two RBU 6000 ASW mortar launchers on board C.A. Eustatiu Sebastian

Starboard, Square Head IFF antenna on C.A. Eustatiu Sebastian

Peel Cone E band search radar on Reshitelni

Port side depth charges rack with 6 charges on Reshitelni

The port side RBU 1500 ASW mortar launcher on Reshitelni

The port 25mm, twin barreled gun on Cherkasy

30mm AK306 gun on Cherkasy

GKT-2 contact sweeper on Cherkasy

Photos Of BlackSeaFor Ships, As They Arrived In Istanbul

The April activation of the BlackSeaFor finished this week and the ships that took part have returned to their home ports. Istanbul was the last stop for the BlackSeafor fleet.

The following ships arrived in Istanbul on 20th April 2012 for the port visit.

Number
Name
Nation
Participants
158 RFS Tsesar Kunikov (Flagship) Russia Landing Ship
F-240 TCG Yavuz Turkey Frigate
13 BGS Reshitelni Bulgaria Corvette
264 ROS C.A. Eustatiu Sebastian Romania Corvette
U-311 UPS Cherkasy Ukraine Minehunter

I was able to take photos of these  ships as they have entered into Bosphorus. I was also able to visit them while they were in Istanbul and take photos on board. But that is stuff of another post.

For more news on April 2012, activation of the BlackSeaFor click here and here.

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