SNMG-2 Ships Arrived In Samsun

NATO SAVAŞ GEMİLERİ SAMSUN’DA NATO'YA AİT İKİ SAVAŞ GEMİSİ SAMSUN LİMANI'NA DEMİR ATTI

HMCS St. John’s in Samsun harbour. Photo: samsunkenthaber.com

Today, Spanish frigate ESPS Almirante Juan De Borbon and Canadian frigate HMCS St. John’s constituting, Standing NATO Martime Group 2, Task Unit 2 arrived in Samsun, Turkey.

The ships  will stay in Samsun for 3 days. They have left Varna, Bulgaria on last Monday with the Bulgarian warship Reshitelni and spend the rest of the week cruising the Black Sea.

The ships have sailed to the Black Sea on 31st January and can stay only 21 days in the region. This means that the ships must make their southbound passage through Bosphorus in the next four days.

 

 

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NATO Maps The Pattern Of Life In The Med

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From top HS Navarinon, TCG Gaziantep and ITS Aviere. Photo: from Turkish Navy official web site

NATO Maritime Command has started a focused operation to map, patterns of life in the Mediterranean.

This focused operation is led by Captain Emre Sezenler, Commodore of 2. Destroyer Flotilla of Turkish Navy and TCG Gaziantep acts as his flagship. Italian frigate ITS Aviere and Greek frigate HS Navarinon are the other components of this task force.

Below is the press release about the operation:

NORTHWOOD, United Kingdom (Feb. 7, 2017) – Three NATO ships, provided by Turkey, Italy and Greece are dedicating specific attention to portions of the eastern Mediterranean Sea over the next couple of weeks in what is called an Operation Sea Guardian (OSG) focused operation.

Operation Sea Guardian is a standing Maritime Security Operation with three main tasks, Maritime Situational Awareness, counter-terrorism and regional capacity building. As a standing operation, it is continually active through a network of ships and maritime operations centers providing information about Maritime Situational Awareness. This baseline is augmented by focused operations that concentrate on specific areas of interest.

Focused operations dedicate various types of assets under NATO operational control to developing and maintaining an accurate picture of daily activity in various parts of the Mediterranean Sea. This information builds what is called Maritime Situational Awareness (MSA) which is shared across the Alliance and can be used to help identify possible security concerns while at the same time increasing cooperation, flexibility and strength through unified effort.

his is the first focus operation of 2017 and the second since Operation Sea Guardian was initiated on November 9, 2016. The first focus operation provided Allied navies information on daily patterns of life near shipping routes and fishing grounds in the central Mediterranean in order to support building a greater MSA across the Alliance.

The operation as a whole is about the fusion of information to create a more comprehensive picture of daily activities in the Mediterranean. In addition to the details provided by these assets actively collecting information in specific areas, Allied nations’ forces support this operation in various ways through active, standby or associated support.

Sea Shield 2017 Naval Exercise

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Spanish warship ESPS Almirante Juan de Borbon passed through Turkish Straits to take part in the exercise.

Once again Romania is hosting Sea Shield naval exercise. The exercise will take place between 1st and 11th February 2017. The exercise started with the planning and familiarization phase which will end on 5th February.

The participants have already arrived at the Romanian port Constanta for this year’s exercise. Besides, Romania, Bulgaria, Canada, Spain, Turkey and U.S.A. have deployed warships. The only submarine of the exercise is TCG Dolunay. She will play the role of the hunter and the hunted.

According to the press release of the Romanian Naval Forces, 2800 military personnel is taking part in the exercise. Romania will provide besides warships two mobile missile-launchers, a special-operation detachment, two MiG 21 Lancer airplanes and a medical-evacuation helicopter. Turkey has also dispatched one CN-235 ASW patrol plane.

This is the list of the participating naval units:

Number Name Type Country
11 BGS Smeli Frigate Bulgaria
340 HMCS St John’s Frigate Canada
F-221 ROS Regele Ferdnand Frigate Romania
111 ROS Marasesti Frigate Romania
265 ROS Admiral Horia Macellariu Corvette Romania
264 ROS Admiral Eustatiu Sebstian Corvette Romania
190 ROS Lastunul Corvette Romania
188 ROS Zborul Corvette Romania
25 ROS Lieutenant Lupu Dunescu Mine sweeper Romania
29 ROS Lieutenant Dimitrie Nicolescu Mine sweeper Romania
F-102 ESPS Almirante Juan de Borbon Frigate Spain
F-242 TCG Fatih Frigate Turkey
S-352 TCG Dolunay Submarine Turkey
78 USS Porter Destroyer USA

The Flagship Of SNMG-2 Is In Izmir

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FGS Sachsen in Izmir. Photo: Oktay Cömert. Used with permission.

The flagship of Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 (SNMG-2) FGS Sachsen is in Izmir for a liberty call.

The German Navy took over the lead of SNMG-2 in 22. December 2016 and frigate FGS Sachsen has replaced Dutch warship HNLMS De Ruyter as the flagship of the task force.

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FGS Sachsen in Izmir. Photo: Oktay Cömert. Used with permission.

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FGS Sachsen in Izmir. Photo: Oktay Cömert. Used with permission.

 

Can NATO Really Help With The Migrant Crisis In Aegean? (Part 2)

The year 2015 will be remembered by the horrendous stories of ordinary people who had to leave their homes, possessions, who had to made painful and dangerous voyages to reach Europe just to survive.
If you think the refuge crises was bad in 2015 it will be a lot worse in 2016.

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Numbers of irregular migrants rescued from the sea by Turkish Coast Guard in the frist two months of 2015  and 2016.

First the number of people trying to cross Aegean to go To Europe has increased dramatically. According to the statistics of Turkish Coast Guard number of refuges rescued from the sea in the first two months of 2016 is 14.378. This represents an almost 10 fold increase compared to same period in 2015.

Furthermore to make the things far more worse these numbers will climb higher as thousands of Syrians are running away from their demolished villages and towns because of the indiscriminate bombing of Russian Air Force on behalf of Syrian regime. The high water mark may still to come.

And European countries are not offering the even the lukewarm welcome they have given to the refuges in 2015. Existence of these immigrants are causing sever political tensions in most of the host countries. These tensions will have dire consequences for all political parties in the next election cycle.

Since Europe doesn’t want to harbour any more refugees it is trying to stop the influx by protecting its sea borders more efficiently.

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To hop across the Aegean is still the most convenient way to reach for Europe.

The Aegean Sea offers the most convenient router for the refugees. The close proximate of many Greek island to Turkish mainland makes it possible for thousands of refugees to reach to EU by entering Greece. The sea trip from Turkish mainland to Greek islands on overfilled and unstable RHIBs is often dangerous and deadly. %90 percent of 316 irregular immigration incidents in the first two months of 2016 have happened in Aegean according to Turkish Coast Guard.

Since early February, NATO, EU, Greece  and Turkey are trying to formulate plans how NATO’s assigned maritime task force SNMG-2 will perform its anti-immigration operation in the Aegean Sea.

This operation was conceived right after the German Chancellor Frau Merkel’s visit to Turkey in early February 2016.  Germany, Greece and Turkey proposed and in a record-breaking 3 days’ time NATO’s Foreign Ministers have approved the plan to commit SNMG-2 for this mission.

SNMG-2 currently consists of German Navy flagship FGS Bonn, Canadian Navy frigate HMCS Fredericton, Turkish Navy frigate TCG Barbaros and Greek Navy frigate HS Salamis. France and Great Britain have also disclosed that they are sending warships to reinforce the task force. The units are patrolling in the assigned areas and conducting reconnaissance, monitoring and surveillance activities.

According to a press release from 6th March, the commanders of NATO have defined SNMG-2’s area of activity in close consultation and coordination with both Greece and Turkey. Their activities in territorial waters will be carried out in consultation and coordination with both Allies. The purpose of NATO’s deployment is not to stop or push back migrant boats, but to help our Allies Greece and Turkey, as well as the European Union, in their efforts to tackle human trafficking and the criminal networks that are fueling this crisis.

NATO’s Maritime Command has also agreed with FRONTEX on arrangements at the operational and tactical level. NATO and FRONTEX will be able to exchange liaison officers and share information in real time, to enable FRONTEX, as well as Greece and Turkey, to take action in real-time.

NATO has gained some knowledge by conducting anti piracy operations in Gulf of Aden and must have the knowledge to differentiate between the small plastic boats full of immigrants and ordinary fishermen. Thus they may apply the lessons they have learned in Gulf of Aden for a good use in Aegean. I have personally talked with a few sailors of Turkish Coast Guard operation in Aegean and they are suffering from various psychological symptoms as they fish day after day dead bodies mostly children and women from the sea. Thus presence of a NATO fleet might ease their burden.

But I still have my misgiving about the intentions of NATO’s mission and I am very sceptical about this whole thing because instead of draining the swamp Europe is trying to kill the individual mosquitoes. And what makes this effort worse is that Europe uses the NATO hammer is stead of a fly swatter.

 

Can NATO Really Help With The Migrant Crisis In Aegean?

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Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 trains with Turkish Navy. From left to right: F-501 TCG Bodrum, 337 HMCS Fredericton, A-1413 FGS Bonn, F-494 TCG Gökova, F-244 TCG Barbaros

Last week NATO has decided in a very unorthodox speedy way -in a very un-NATO fashion- to deploy one of her naval task force to the Aegean sea to deter people-smugglers taking migrants from Turkey to Greece.

Dispatching Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 (SNMG-2)to the Aegean was not a big deal since the task force spend the previous week near Aksaz Naval Base in Marmaris conducting joint trainings with Turkish Navy. The task force was literally just a few hours away when NATO Defence Ministers agreed that NATO should provide support to assist with the refugee and migrant crisis on 11 February 2016.

The SNMG-2 is made up by the A-1413 FGS Bonn, 337 HMCS Frederiction, ITS Libeccio and TCG Barbaros.  The flagship of the task force is the German auxiliary FGS Bonn. She is a combat stores ship capable of underway replenishment and can carry 7,850 tons fuel; 1,330 tons water; 280 tons cargo; 220 tons ammunition; 115 tons lubricants.  The others are frigates from Canadian, Italian and Turkish Navies, build to hunt and destroy enemy submarines and ships.

It is clear that none of these ships are specially designed to the given task of contribute critical information and surveillance to help counter human trafficking and criminal networks.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, stressed that this mission is “not about stopping or pushing back refugee boats,” but about contributing “critical information and surveillance to help counter human trafficking and criminal networks.” As part of the agreement, NATO will co-operate closely with national coastguards and the European Union. Military authorities are now working out the details of the mission.

And General Philip Breedlove, Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR), said that deployment of SNMG-2 was not about stopping or pushing back refugee boats. NATO will provide critical intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance information to others to stop the human trafficking and criminal networks in co-operation with national coastguards and the Frontex. The SNMG-2 will be tasked to do monitoring and other support tasks

The seat of purpose for every naval action is on land. The criminal and human trafficking networks are on land. On the sea are just the migrants trying to survive and cross the sea to the other side. Thus it just does not makes sence for NATO to send one oiler and 3 frigates to fish the helpless migrants from the sea and return them back to Turkey. While the ships of SNMG-2 especially the frigates are capable of gathering information about their enemies through their sensors, I have my doubts if these sensors will be adequate to fulfill the given task in this mission. Searching and locating large metal targets on the surface or submerged is one thing locating small dinghies made from plastic is something else.

If NATO nations really wanted to do anything to stop the these criminal networks they should have sent specialised police officers or other law enforcement forces or may be some specialised intelligence gathering ships.

The migrant crisis has a very destabilising effect on the European nations and indirectly threatens the security. But instead of draining the swamp NATO is trying to kill the individual mosquitoes. And what makes this effort worse is that NATO uses a hammer is stead of a fly swatter.

 

UPDATED: Anti Submarine Warfare Exercise Dynamic Manta 2015 Started In Italy

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TCG Yıldırım in Çanakkale in March 2015. She is taking part in Dynamic Manta with SNMG-2

The largest anti submarine warfare exercise NATO holds in the Mediterranean has started in Italy.

The exercise Dynamic Manta formerly known as Noble Manta kicked on 12 September 2015 in Sicily. The Augusta Naval Base and the Sigonella Air Base in Catania are full with participating naval and air units.

Submarines from France, Greece, Italy, Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States, will join 5 surface ships from France, Germany, Italy, Turkey and the United States. To support the simulated multi-threat environment, 7 Maritime Patrol Aircraft and Helicopters from Canada, France, Italy, Turkey and the United States will operate from Sigonella Air Base

The aim of this exercise is to provide all participants with complex and challenging warfare training to enhance their interoperability and proficiency in anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare skills, with due regard to safety. During the exercise, an analysis team of ASW experts (In-stride Debrief Team) will be located in Sigonella Air Base. The team will analyse anti-submarine warfare events real time and will provide debriefs to ships, submarines and aircrews. It allows crew to accelerate their process, make adjustments, improve the performance and boost the anti-submarine warfare readiness.

UPDATE: As usual I have tried to find out the participating naval units and I have succeed it with the exception of the US submarine. Thanks to Victor M.S. Barreira and D_Mitch, for detailed info on participating surface units.

Any corrections and additions are welcomed.

Number Name Type Nationality
D-643 FS Jean De Vienne Destroyer France
 S-606  FS Perle Submarine France
F-220 FGS Hamburg Frigate Germany
S-116 HS Posedion Submarine Greece
 F-571  ITS Grecale Frigate Italy
S-522  ITS Salvatore Pelosi Submarine Italy
 S-73  ESPS Mistral Submarine Spain
F-243 TCG Yıldırım Frigate Turkey
S-353 TCG Preveze Submarine Turkey
 S-96  HMS Ambush Submarine UK
75  USS Porter Destroyer USA

Anti Submarine Warfare Exercise Dynamic Manta 2015 Started In Italy

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TCG Yıldırım in Çanakkale in March 2015. She is taking part in Dynamic Manta with SNMG-2

The largest anti submarine warfare exercise NATO holds in the Mediterranean has started in Italy.

The exercise Dynamic Manta formerly known as Noble Manta kicked on 12 September 2015 in Sicily. The Augusta Naval Base and the Sigonella Air Base in Catania are full with participating naval and air units.

Submarines from France, Greece, Italy, Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States, will join 5 surface ships from France, Germany, Italy, Turkey and the United States. To support the simulated multi-threat environment, 7 Maritime Patrol Aircraft and Helicopters from Canada, France, Italy, Turkey and the United States will operate from Sigonella Air Base

The aim of this exercise is to provide all participants with complex and challenging warfare training to enhance their interoperability and proficiency in anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare skills, with due regard to safety. During the exercise, an analysis team of ASW experts (In-stride Debrief Team) will be located in Sigonella Air Base. The team will analyse anti-submarine warfare events real time and will provide debriefs to ships, submarines and aircrews. It allows crew to accelerate their process, make adjustments, improve the performance and boost the anti-submarine warfare readiness.

As usual I have tried to find out the participating naval units. It the next few days with the emerge of more information regarding the exercise I hope to complete the list. Thanks to Victor M.S. Barreira for detailed info on participating surface units.

Any corrections and additions are welcomed.

Number Name Type Nationality
D-643 FS Jean De Vienne Destroyer France
Submarine France
F-220 FGS Hamburg Frigate Germany
S-116 HS Posedion Submarine Greece
 F-571  ITS Grecale Frigate Italy
Submarine Italy
Submarine Spain
F-243 TCG Yıldırım Frigate Turkey
S-353 TCG Preveze Submarine Turkey
Submarine UK
75  USS Porter Destroyer USA
Submarine USA

Foreign Warship On Bosphorus 2015 (Part 29)

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A newcomer to the Syrian Express Deployments: Korolev. Photo: Yörük Işık. Used with permission.

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Novocharkassk making her southbound passage through Istanbul Strait. Photo: Yörük Işık. Used with permission.

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Long time no see: Tsezar Kunikov making her debut after a long overhaul. Photo: Yörük Işık. Used with permission.

Today the Russian Ropuchas were active. One of the Baltic Fleet’s ships 130 Konolev made her northbound passage. It’s the first time she was deployed in this region and first time she will take part in cargo hauling to Syria.

Another ship that we have not seen for a long time was the south bound 158 Tsezar Kunikov. This Black Sea Fleet ship was in Bulgaria for an overhaul. Her companion was Novocharkassk.

Number Name Direction Nationality
7.6.2015 158 Tsezar Kunikov Southbound Russia
7.6.2015 142 Novocharkassk Southbound Russia
7.6.2015 130 Korolev Northbound Russia
3.6.2015 71 USS Ross Southbound USA
2.6.2015 121 Moskva Southbound Russia
2.6.2015 Ivan Bubnov Southbound Russia
1.6.2015 031 Alexander Otrakovski Southbound Russia
1.6.2015 110 Alexander Shabalin Southbound Russia
30.5.2015 151 Azov Northbound Russia
30.5.2015 141 Novocharkassk Northbound Russia
26.5.2015 152 Nikolay Filchenkov Southbound Russia
25.5.2015 801 Ladny Northbound Russia
24.5.2015 121 Moskva Northbound Russia
23.5.2015 71 USS Ross Northbound USA
23.5.2015 110 Alexander Shabalin Northbound Russia
23.5.2015 031 Alexander Otrakovski Northbound Russia
20.5.2015 151 Azov Southbound Russia
20.5.2015 142 Novocharkassk Southbound Russia
19.5.2015 808 Pytliviy Southbound Russia
15.5.2015 121 Moskva Southbound Russia
14.5.2015 547 Linyi Southbound China
14.5.2015 109 Weifang Southbound China
14.5.2015 616 Samum Southbound Russia
12.5.2015 151 Azov Northbound China
12.5.2015 142 Novocharkassk Northbound China
4.5.2015 547 Linyi Northbound China
4.5.2015 550 Weifang Northbound China
28.4.2015 031 Alexander Otrakovski Northbound Russia
28.4.2015 110 Alexander Shabalin Northbound Russia
17.4.2015 031 Alexander Otrakovski Southbound Russia
17.4.2015 110 Alexander Shabalin Southbound Russia
14.4.2015 109 USS Jason Dunham Southbound USA
8.4.2015 031 Alexander Otrakovski Northbound Russia
8.4.2015 142 Novocharkassk Northbound Russia
5.4.2015 MAI 1101 MAI 1101 Northbound Romania
3.4.2015 109 USS Jason Dunham Northbound USA
30.3.2015 F-710 FS La Fayette  Southbound French
29.3.2015 031 Alexander Otrakovski Southbound Russia
29.3.2015 142 Novocharkassk Southbound Russia
28.3.2015 MB-31 Southbound Russia
24.3.2015 F-710 FS La Fayette Northbound France
24.3.2015 152 Nikolay Filchenkov Southbound Russia
21.3.2015 A-1442 FGS Spessart Southbound Germany
21.3.2015 337 HMCS Fredericton Southbound Canada
21.3.2015 F-547 ITS Aliseo Southbound Italy
21.3.2015 69 USS Vicksburg Southbound USA
19.3.2015 110 Alexander Shabalin Northbound Russia
19.3.2015  142 Novocharkassk Northbound Russia
17.3.2015 151 Azov Southbound Russia
8.3.2015 110 Alexander Shabalin Southbound Russia
8.3.2015 142 Novocharkassk Southbound Russia
7.3.2015 031 Alexander Otrakovski Northbound Russia
7.3.2015 151 Azov Northbound Russia
4.3.2015 A-1442 FGS Spessart Northbound Germany
4.3.2015 337 HMCS Fredericton Northbound Canada
4.3.2015 F-547 ITS Aliseo Northbound Italy
3.3.2015 69 USS Vicksburg Northbound USA
25.2.2015 031 Alexander Otrakovski Southbound Russia
25.2.2015 151 Azov Southbound Russia
25.2.2015  142 Novocharkassk Northbound Russia
22.2.2015 67 USS Cole Southbound USA
21.2.2015  156 Yamal Northbound Russia
21.2.2015 110 Alexander Shabalin Northbound Russia
17.2.2015 031 Alexander Otrakovski Northbound Russia
17.2.2015 150 Saratov Northbound Russia
15.2.2015 142 Novocharkassk Southbound Russia
8.2.2015 67 USS Cole Northbound USA
7.2.2015 801 Ladny Southbound Russia
7.2.2015 156 Yamal Southbound Russia
7.2.2015 110 Alexander Shabalin Southbound Russia
5.2.2015 031 Alexander Otrakovski Southbound Russia
5.2.2015 150 Saratov Southbound Russia
21.1.2015  156 Yamal Northbound Russia
21.1.2015 110 Alexander Shabalin Northbound Russia
21.1.2015 PM-56 PM-56 Northbound Russia
19.1.2015 Shaktar Northbound Russia
19.1.2015 KIL-158 Northbound Russia
19.1.2015 150 Saratov Northbound Russia
17.1.2015 131 Moskva Northbound Russia
14.1.2015 75 USS Donald Cook Southbound USA
13.1.2015 031 Alexander Otrakovski Northbound Russia
11.1.2015 PM-138 PM-138 Southbound Russia
10.1.2015 156 Yamal Southbound Russia
10.1.2015 110 Alexander Shabalin Southbound Russia
5.1.2015 150 Saratov Southbound Russia
5.1.2015 KIL-158 Southbound Russia

I have archived the list of the Russian warship movements in 2013 and the list of foreign warship movements in 2014.

Baltops 2015 Naval Components

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Monsieur Louis, Martin-Vézian from Contemporary Issues & Geography (CIGeography) prepared this wonderful picture where you can visualize easily all nations and all warships taking part in Baltops exercise.

According to media sources there are 49 warships taking part in Baltops 2015. The below list has 49 of them.

Number Name Type Nationality
FF-337 HMCS Frederiction Frigate Canada
A-559 HDMS Sleipner Tender Denmark
F-362 HDMS Peter Willemoes  Frigate Denmark
F-363 HDMS Niels Juel Frigate Denmark
L-16 HDMS Absalon Assault Ship Denmark
MSD-5 HDMS Hirsholm Mine hunter Denmark
MSF-1 HDMS MSF-1 Mine hunter Denmark
MV Blue Capella Tender Denmark
A-432 ENS Tasuja Tender Estonia
M-314 ENS Sakala Mine hunter Estonia
2 FNS Hämeenmaa Mine hunter Finland
A-631 FS Somme Tanker France
M-641 FS Eridan Mine hunter France
A-1458 FGS Fehmarn Tender Germany
A-516 FGS Donau Tanker Germany
F-214 FGS Lübeck Frigate Germany
F-260 FGS Braunschwieg Corvette Germany
M-1093 FGS Auerbach Mine hunter Germany
P-6123 FGS Hermelin Patrol boat Germany
P-6129 FGS Wiesel Patrol boat Germany
P-6130 FGS Hyane Patrol boat Germany
M-53 LNS Skalvis Mine hunter Latvia
M-54 LNS Kursis Mine hunter Latvia
P-11 LNS Zemaitis Patrol boat Latvia
A-53 LVNS Virsaitis Tender Litanua
A-803 HNLMS Luymens Tender Netherlands
M-857 HNLMS Makkum Mine hunter Netherlands
M-861 HNLMS Urk Mine hunter Netherlands
M-862 HNLMS Zierikzee Mine hunter Netherlands
M-864 HNLMS Willemstad Mine hunter Netherlands
M-351 HNOMS Otra Mine hunter Norway
M-352 HNoMS Rauma Mine hunter Norway
297 ORP Kondor Submarine Poland
623 ORP Meva Patrol boat Poland
632 ORP Bukowo Mine hunter Poland
637 ORP Resko Mine hunter Poland
641 ORP Druzno Mine hunter Poland
643 ORP Mamry Mine hunter Poland
644 ORP Wigry Mine hunter Poland
821 ORP Lublin Landing ship Poland
822 ORP Gniezno Landing ship Poland
K-12 HMS Malmö Corvette Sweden
F-497 TCG Göksu Frigate Turkey
F-234 HMS Iron Duke Frigate UK
L-12 HMS Ocean Assault Ship UK
M-41 HMS Quorn Mine hunter UK
LDP-17 USS San Antonio Assault Ship USA
CG-69 USS Vicksburg Cruiser USA
DDG-109 USS Jason Dunham Destroyer USA

 

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