FGS Hessen In In Marmaris

Photo: aksam.com

F-221 FGS Hessen and A-1442 FSG Spessart in Aksaz. Photo: aksam.com

In the morning hours two German warships will leave the Turkish naval base Aksaz, Marmaris and will head to eastern Mediterranean. The frigate F-221 FGS Hessen and the replenishment ship A-1442 FSG Spessart have arrived in Aksaz naval base on 8th March 2013 for a 3 day port visit.

According to NATO, these two warships make the whole Standing NATO Maritime Group 1 which conducts the Operation Active Endeavour in the eastern Mediterranean.


M/V Namrun Attacked By Pirates

Let me warn you that this is not a recent news story.

Four days ago on 27th June 2012, the Turkish owned and Maltese flagged Supramax bulk carrier M/V Namrun was attacked by pirates as she was passing through the Gulf Of Aden. She was  near position 14:22 N – 054:38 E, approximately 110 nm north of Socotra Island. According to a Turkish maritime web site, the security team on board of M/V Namrun returned fire as the pirates attacked with machine guns and rocket propelled grenades, killing 3 of the pirates.

However there are other stories on internet about the same incident which do not mention any loss of life.

After a two day hunt in the Gulf of Aden and Arabian Sea, NATO’s flagship HNLMS Evertsen boarded a pirated dhow on June 29 and released seven hijacked Indian and Bangladeshi crew members. The Omani flagged dhow Nebarkad had been hijacked on 20th June off the coast of Oman, and was used by the pirates to attack merchant vessels in the Arabian Sea.

The two day operation was the conclusion of a longer period in which a group of suspected pirates used dhows to conduct attacks on merchant vessels throughout the Arabian Sea. On 27th June an alarm call came in from the MV Namrun a Maltese flagged bulk carrier. The captain stated that an unknown dhow had attempted to attack it and shots were fired.

After swift consultation with the other maritime forces, including the EU, in the operating area the commander of NATO’s Task Force, Commodore Ben Bekkering, dispatched the Evertsen.

The warship covered almost 300 nautical miles in 10 hours to the area north-east of Socotra. Although known positions seemed to indicate the dhow was heading south toward for Somalia, the bad weather caused by strong monsoon winds and a very rough sea, forced her back.

After an intensive search, aided by a Japanese Maritime Patrol Aircraft, the Lynx helicopter of Evertsen detected the dhow on Thursday afternoon, as it entered the Yemeni territorial waters. At first light this morning as the dhow headed south towards Somalia HNLMS Evertsen approached the dhow for a boarding. The dhow initially attempted to evade at speed. As the boarding team approached, the hijacked crew jumped overboard. While they were brought to safety, the dhow was secured by Dutch marines who detained seven suspected pirates.

Regardless to which version of the events you want to believe, it was a close call for the ship and her crew.

NATO Says The Piracy In Gulf Of Aden Is At The Lowest Level Since 2009

Before SNMG-2 returned to the Mediterranean the command of the Operation Ocean Shield, NATO’s counter piracy mission was handed over to the SNMG-1. The handover ceremony was done in Jeddah Saudi Arabia. This is a surprise as I did not know that Saudi Arabia supported the NATO operations, even covertly.

Commodore Ben Bekkering (Royal Netherlands Navy), assumed command of Operation Ocean Shield, NATO‟s counter piracy mission from Rear Admiral Sinan Azmi Tosun (Turkish Navy) in the port of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

As incoming Commander, Commodore Ben Bekkering stressed the need to remain vigilant. “On Admiral Tosun‟s six-month watch, the success rate of pirates has seen a sharp decline. Pirates find it increasingly difficult to deploy from the coast and hunt at sea. But the many incidents over the last few months, including attacks and hijackings, make it absolutely clear that we can’t let our guard down. I see it as my absolute task to ensure the trend continues and engage with all partners in the region to maximize our combined effect.”

Onboard his flagship Rear Admiral Tosun summarized his six months in command, “Ocean Shield has been a highly satisfying and demanding deployment for me. During my tenure, the main success has been the significant reduction in successful piracy actions which are now at their lowest level since 2009. The high level of coordination established between the counter piracy actors has undoubtedly played a considerable part in contributing to the decline in piracy. I believe that powerful and resolute units of NATO‟s Counter Piracy Task Force, under the command of Commodore Bekkering will continue to fight against piracy with the same enthusiasm during the next six-month period”

Commodore Ben Bekkering’s flagship is F-805 HNLMS Evertsen. And as of 15th June 2012, Turkey will handover the command of SNMG-2 to Germany.

I have no statistics about the recent piracy activity in the region but if the piracy actions are now at their lowest level since 2009 as claimed by the admirals then does this means there is a light at the end of the tunnel or this just meager times of the pirates?


NATO SNMG-1 Task Force In Istanbul

F-209 FGS Rheinland-Pfalz

F-805 HNLMS Evertsen

Today the NATO SNMG-1 task group consisting of the German frigate F-209 FGS Rheinland-Pfalz and Dutch frigate/destroyer F-805 HNLMS Evertsen arrived in Istanbul for an official visit. Long gone are the days when the visiting NATO fleet would cover a considerable space in Bosphorus.

After their stay in Istanbul the task force will replace SNMG-2 in Gulf of Aden.


Proud Manta 2012

It is once again time for the NATO’s biggest anti submarine warfare (ASW) exercise Proud Manta.

From 14-26 February 2012, Canada, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States. will provide 5 submarines, 15 aircraft and 12 surface ships take part in  this exercise. The exercise will take place in the Ionian Sea to the southeast of Sicily.

The NATO’s own research ship A-1456 Alliance will participate to the exercise as well as ASW planes from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Norway and USA. The UK will only provide 2 EH-101 ASW helicopters.

The exercise will demonstrate NATO’s determination to maintain proficiency and improve interoperability in coordinated anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, coastal surveillance and other maritime operations using a multi-national force of ships, submarines and aircraft.  Furthermore it will aim to provide operational training in potential NRF tasks/roles and missions as well as exercising the procedures for current or future operations. The units will also be exercised in defence against terrorism operations.

Order of Battle for Proud Manta 12 is:

Surface Ships
FFG-339 HMCS Charlottetown Frigate Canada
D-643 FS Jean De Vienne Destroyer France
F-209 FGS Rheinland-Pflaz Frigate Germany
A-1443 FGS Rhön Replenishment Tanker Germany
D-561 ITS Francesco Mimbelli Destroyer Italy
F-576 ITS Espero Frigate Italy
A-5352 ITS Lipari Tender Italy
A-5366 ITS Levanzo Tender Italy
F-804 HNLMS De Ruyter Frigate Netherlands
CG-72 USS Vella  Gulf Cruiser USA
DGG-68 USS The Sullivans Destroyer USA
FGG-45 USS De Wert Frigate USA
S-605 FS Améthyste Rubis/Améthyste cl. France
S-111 NS Nirefs Type 209/1100 Mod. Greece
S-527 ITS Sciré Type 212A Italy
S-71 SPS Galerna Agosta S70 Spain
S-357 TCG Gür Type 209 /1400 Turkey

Click for previous years Proud Manta Exercise News.

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