A Large Piece Of Grey, Steel Lump

TCG Bayraktar during her acceptance test in 2017. She seems to have become the de facto training ship of Turkish Navy.

On 3rd September the second year cadets of Turkish Naval Academy boarded TCG Bayraktar for a 20 day training cruise in the Black Sea.

318 Turkish students and 7 guest students from South Korea, Albania, Senegal, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and Azerbaijan will sail through the Black Sea and visit Varna Bulgaria, Poti Georgia, Trabzon Turkey.

TCG Bayraktar seems to be the favorite training platform of the Turkish Navy replacing the old Rhein class ships TCG Cezayirli Hasan Paşa and TCG Sokullu Mehmet Paşa. These two ships, initially built as tender for Germany Navy were transferred to Turkish Navy in 1980’ies. In Turkish service, they are mainly used as used for training cruises of Turkish Naval Petty Officer Vocational School and Turkish Naval Academy. Besides training cruises, both ships are used in flagships duties.

But for the last two years, TCG Bayraktar was deployed for the training cruises. While I can understand why TCG Bayraktar is now the chosen platform for the training cruises. She is landing ship with a capacity to carry 350 persons. She has an 1100 square meter closed parking area and a 690 square meter large open deck. So there is enough place for the cadets to live and to train.

TCG Bayraktar has modern command and control facilities, advanced damage control systems and weapons. So she is an effective platform to teach the cadets and show them how to live and fight on ships.

TCG Bayraktar is a convenient platform for training unfortunately not the most representative one nor were the Rhein class ships. Turkish Navy needs a dedicated training ship. And I would like it to be a sailing ship.

Almost one decade ago, in December 2008, the Defence Industry Executive Committee approved the commencement of training ship project. On 29 January 2009, Undersecretariat for Defense Industries issued a request for information (RfI) document about schooner type ships. But nothing since then happened. For some years the project was listed in the official presentations of UDI under the future acquisition projects. Now they even don’t do that. I have no doubt that nobody in Undersecretariat for Defence Industries or in Turkish Navy is talking about this project anymore.

I personally STILL look forward to seeing these schooners in service. I believe that only sailing can teach a young and aspiring sea cadet about the forces that will shape his/her life in the coming twenty-thirty years.

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 warfighting 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 warship must be a sailor first and bring the ship back to the port safely.

I can not think of a person who would not be impressed by seeing a tall ship sailing into their port. TCG Bayraktar is a large piece of grey steel lump, impressive but unimaginative. In terms of naval soft power, these schooners will a force multiplier for the Turkish Navy when and if they enter into the service.

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Mexican Navy Sail Ship ARM Cuauhtémoc

The Mexican Navy sail ship ARM Cuauhtémoc was in Istanbul in August for a port visit.

Now there is a nice video made during her by the musician Mr. Serdar Ateşer. I hope you enjoy the video as much as I do.

Mexican Navy Sail ship ARM Cuauhtémoc Left Istanbul

mexico mexico_1

The sail training ship of Mexican Navy ARM Cuauhtémoc ended her 4 day visit in Istanbul on 14 August 2015. She is currently underway to Malta.

The last time when, ARM Cuauhtémoc was in Istanbul was in 2011.

According to Wikipedia she is named named for the last Mexica Hueyi Tlatoani Cuauhtémoc who was captured and executed in 1525.

She is the last of four sister ships built by the Naval Shipyards of Bilbao, Spain, in 1982, all built to a design similar to the 1930 designs of the German firm Blohm & Voss, like Gorch Fock, USCGC Eagle and the NRP Sagres.

Like her sister ships, the Colombia’s Gloria, Ecuador’s Guayas and Venezuela’s Simón Bolívar, Cuauhtémoc is a sailing ambassador for her home country and a frequent visitor to world ports, having sailed over 400,000 nautical miles (700,000 km) in her 23 years of service.

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.

 

ARM Cuauhtemoc in Odessa

ARM Cuauhtemoc in Odessa. Photo: Ukraine MoD.

The Mexican naval training ship ARM Cuauhtemoc is in Odessa, Ukraine for a port and good will visit.  After leaving Istanbul on 27 July 2011, she sailed to Odessa arriving there on 30 July.

The ship was welcomed, by the deputy commander of Western Naval Base, Captain 2nd Rank Aleksandr Dereschukom, Ambassador of Mexico to Ukraine, Ms. Berenis Rendón and other officials from the Mexican side .

The commander of ARM Cuauhtemoc, Captain 1st rank Marco Antonio Vila Vivaldi, said that this visit has a friendly character and is to deepen cooperation between two countries in military and cultural spheres.

The training ship is on an educational sailing trip called “Mediterranean – 2011” and has visited many countries.

The ship will leave Odessa on 4 August 2011.

Mexican Training Ship Cuauhtemoc in the Black Sea

Cuauhtemoc in Istanbul

This week Istanbul had a distinct visitor from Mexico: The training ship ARM Cuauhtemoc. She arrived in Istanbul on 23 July and stayed till 27 July.  Currently she is sailing in the Black Sea and next port of call is Odessa.

The ship was build in Spain in 1982 and has three sisters: Colombia’s Gloria, Ecuador’s Guayas and Venezuela’s Simón Bolívar.

I was not able to take photos of Cuauhtemoc when she was in Istanbul but I hope I can see her when she returns from Odessa.

Photo: from gemihaberleri.com

>A "Piece Of Spain That Sails"

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Yesterday, I was cordially invited like all other citizens of Istanbul to the temporary SpanishEmbassy in Istanbul.

It was one of the most interesting and enjoyablehalf an hour I have had. This is a benefit of being unemployed at the moment. I could never spare me time to visit the ship if I was working.

Of course Spain has a permanent representation in Istanbul where you can go by appointmentbut it is no match in advertising for Spain with the one I havevisited: the sailing training ship of the Spanish Navy: Juan Sebastián Elcano.

The four mast schooner Elcano is making a four day visit in Istanbul instead of their yearly trip to the United States and the ship is open for the public.

In the brochure given to us it says

Her role as floating embassy is reviewable as well. Her presence in foreign ports supports Spanish foreign policy and besides showing a beautiful image of our motherland, she also let those Spanish people living abroad to take one step in this “piece of Spain that sails”

She does these things very efficiently I must say. I have alwaysfound the lack of a sailing training ship in Turkish Navy a big andalmost fatal shortage.

Currently, two old ex German supply ships are used for the training cruises of the naval cadets. There are also about 10 sailing yachts at the Turkish Naval Academy. But these assets are not sufficient to teach the future naval officers the challenges of the seas and torepresent Turkey in foreign ports.

In December 2008, the Defence Industry Executive Committee gave approval for the start of training ship acquisition project. And on 29 January 2009,Undersecretariat for Defense Industries issued a Request forInformation (RfI) document about schooner type ships. But nothingsince then happened.

 Until we see our “piece of Turkey that sails” in foreign ports admiredby locals, we have to admire those who come to us.

>Tall Ships Regatta 2010

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This weekend Istanbul does welcome besides German Training Cruise Flotilla, wonderful tall ships from all over the world.

The Historical Seas Tall Ships Regatta started on 9 May from Volos, Greece. The ships arrived in Istanbul on 17 May and passed to Black Sea on the next day. Since then they were in Bulgaria. Today they have returned to Istanbul and will stay over the weekend for four days of festivities.

The fleet will leave Istanbul on 30 May and make its way through the Sea of Marmara and the Dardanelles to last race Lavrion, Greece.

I look forward to visiting some of these ships and to enjoy their beauty.

For more information about the Tall Ships Regatta clickhere.

For more photos click here. Photo from denizhaber.com web portal.

>Amerigo Vespucci in Istanbul

>Italian training ship Amerigo Vespucci is visiting Istanbul currently. She will be leaving tomorrow.

She has 90 cadets on board during for this years cruise.

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.

>Schooners for Turkish Navy.

>On 29th January 2009 Turkish defense procurement agency Undersecretariat for Defense Industries a Request for Information (RfI) document about a schooner type ship.

Turkish Navy wants to have 2 three masted schooner type training ships. In the last Defence Industry Executive Committee meeting green light was given for this project. Thus the invitation for the RfI is not surprising. Currently two old ex-German supply ships are used for the training cruises of the naval cadets. There are also about 10 sailing yachts at the Turkish Naval Academy. But these assets are not sufficient.

I personally look forward to see these schooners in service. I believe that only sailing can teach a young and aspiring sea cadet about the forces that will shape his/her life in the coming twenty – thirty years.

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.

Otherwise he/she will not be able to sail his/her ship in the harms way successfully. For me sailing on a sail ships will be a good education for the future officers of the Turkish Navy.

Apart from this obvious benefit these schooners will have other benefits as well. I suppose there are not many people that are not impressed when they see a tall ship sailing into their port. In terms of naval soft power these schooners will a force multiplier for Turkish Navy.

Chilean training ship Esmeralda in Istanbul, showing the flag. Despite her notorious history tainted with human right abuses and torture in Pinochet era she is still a very impressive ship.

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