Turkish Coast Guard To Receive 6 Damen Vessels

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A 3D-rendering of SAR Vessel 1906 by Damen Shipyards.

The Dutch shipyard, Damen has signed a contract with the International Organisation for Migration, for the supply of six, Search and Rescue (SAR) vessels for delivery in 2017. The boats are being financed by the European Union and will be operated by the Turkish Coast Guard, to support the refugees and migrants rescue operations, according to Defence Turkey Magazine.

The boats are designed for SAR operations in all-weather and can self right within seconds after a capsize or even a 360° roll. The 19 meter long boat, has a maximum speed of 31 knots and can carry up to 120 survivors.

The six boats will be built by Damen’s Turkish Shipyard in Antalya. The first two boats are scheduled for delivery in the first half of 2017 and the deliveries will be finished by the end of 2017.

These will be the first Damen built boats for Turkish Coast Guard. And these boats are going to be the first dedicated and purpose designed search and rescue vessels of Turkish Coast Guard. Damen was not a supplier for Turkish Coast Guard. The fact that the contract was financed by EU funds must have helped the Dutch company. Turkish Coast Guard usually prefers local shipyards and local designs.

Turkish Navy Helped Panamanian Flagged Merchant Ship

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TCG Yıldırım with M/V Fom. Photo: Turkish Naval Forces

According to Turkish Navy press release, MEKO 200 class frigate TCG Yıldırım, evacuated crew from a stricken merchant ship.

The Panamanian flagged merchant ship M/V Fom has suffered a severe engine problem, off the coast of Black Sea town Karadeniz Ereğlisi. The ship lost power and asked for assistance. TCG Yıldırım was dispatched to the drifting M/V Fom. The on board helicopter from the frigate, evacuated 8 strong crew from M/V Fom. The crew after receiving an initial medical attention on TCG Yıldırım, was later transferred to the shore by Turkish Coast Guard.

Coast Guard Boat Collided With A Merchant Ship And Capsized

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TCSG-25 in her better days

Yesterday morning, during the morning rush hour, the Turkish Coast Guard vessel TCSG-25 collided with the Cook Island flag and Turkish owned bulk carrier M/V Tolunay on Bosphorus. The accident happened near the southern entrance of Bosphorus. The coast guard boat capsized after the collision. Both civilian and military rescue ships and other vessels were rushed to the scene. Unfortunately 3 members of crew Rıza Yücel, Yavuz Gökhan Şahin and Sinan Göktaş died while the remaining 3 were rescued.

The boat was tasked to escort the Russian Natya class mine hunter Valentin Pikul which was returning from her Syrian deployment.

If you wonder -like me- how a slow and large bulk carrier could collide with a very fast and agile boat the video below gives us some clue. For a reason, not clear, to me the coast guard boats stays motionless in front of the bulker. At this point it was not possible for the merchant ship to see the boat or to stop.

After the collision the merchant ship sailed till the northern entrance of Bosphorus to Büyükdere Bay. That Bay is the first place along the Bosphorus where a safe anchorage without disturbing the transit traffic is possible. Conveniently the headquarters of Istanbul Coast Guard Command is also located there.

An IED Kills A Turkish Coast Guard Sailor

The yellow circle shows the approximate location of the incident. Syrian border in 10 nautical miles to south.

The yellow circle shows the approximate location of the incident. Syrian border in 10 nautical miles to south.

A Turkish Coast Guard sailor died and a fisherman wounded when a life raft with two bodies on it exploded. The incident happened off the coast of Samandağ in Hatay province, in the morning of 22nd May 2016.

According to news reports, Ali Doğru, a local fisher, sighted a life raft with 2 dead persons, drifting 3 kilometers off the coast of Samandağ and informed the coast guard. One of the boats stationed in Çevlik, Samandağ was dispatched to investigate the incident. Çevlik is the southernmost Coast Guard base a few nautical miles away from Syrian border.

The explosion happened as the coast guard vessel tried to tow life raft. The sailor Alper Al, died and the fisher Ali Doğru was injured. The divers later brought some pieces of the boat and some body parts from the sea floor.

The details of the incident is not enough to answer all the questions. It is not clear if it was a targeted attack against Turkish Coast Guard or not.

Previously boats rigged with explosives were used in suicide attacks against ships. These attacks such the one against USS Cole or M/T Limburg were intended attacks with a live driver bringing the boat to its determined target. Since the boat was drifting it is difficult to determine the intended target of this attack. Drifting mines were used  to disrupt sea traffic in certain areas during war times, but I have not heard about drifting boats rigged with explosives. If one of the fighting parties in Syria, specially rigged the boat with an IED intending hurting the rescuers, this might be a first.

Sea Lion 2016 Search And Rescue Exercise

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Large OPV’s like SG-701 TCSG Güven here are vital for search and rescue missions in maritime domain.

Turkish Coast Guard will conduct Sea Lion-2016 Search and Rescue Exercise, between 3rd and 6th May 2016, in international waters of the Aegean Sea covered by Turkish Search and Rescue Area. Search and Rescue units from the Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard and elements of Transportation, Maritime Affairs and Communications Ministry will participate in the exercise.

The aim of the exercise is to improve the co-ordination and collaboration between the military and civilian search and rescue units and co-ordination centers.

18th March 2016 Naval Parade

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TCG Nusret, the replica of the Ottoman mine layer Nusret. She took part in the naval parade too. She is a commissioned ship in Turkish Navy.

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TCG Amasra, having the Commodore on board, formed the lead section of the parade with TCG Nusret and TCG Akçakoca.

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TCG Akçakoca

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TCG Anafartalar, was one of the two submarines in the parade.

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TCG Gür

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TCG Salihreis, led the frigates and corvettes section.

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TCG Göksu

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TCG Büyükada.

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TCG Bartın

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TCG Mızrak, led the patrol boat section of the parade.

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TCG Atak

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TCG Tuzla

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TCG Karabiga

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TCSG-94. She and her sister TCSG-91 were part of the patrol boat section.

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TCSG-91

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TCG Akçay. She was open to public visit.

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TCG Oruçreis. Like the mine hunter TCG Akçay she was too open for public visit. It must be a nice diversification from SNMG-2 duties in Northern Aegean.

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This is one of the several coast guard boats, that provided close security during the ceremonies.

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TCSG-23 was another coast guard boat that provided close security during the naval parade.

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TCB-70 was the lead helicopter of the 3 units strong naval aviation display.

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TCB-65

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TCB-59

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Turkish Coast Guard’s aviation branch send a 3 helicopter strong detachment for the commemorations. This is TCGS-504

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TCSG-505

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TCSG-502

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Turkish Stars, the air display team of Turkish Airforce showed their skills. The display was not visible from where I was standing. But I have managed to take a photo one of the planes as they were leaving.

Like in previous years, on 18th March 2016, Turkish Navy organised a Naval Parade in Çanakkale Strait to commemorate Turkish Victory over the Allied Armada 101 years ago.

6 Navy and Coast Guard helicopters, 3 maritime patrol planes and 6 Army helicopters took part in a fly over. And the Turkish Stars, the aerobatics demonstration team of the Turkish Air Force made a display. The focal point of the commemorations was the Çanakkale Martyrs’ Memorial, was off the limit for me. But I was never the less able to take photos of the warships taking part in the parade, Coast Guard Boats, providing security and ships that were open for public.

Turkish Coast Guard Order Of Battle

A few weeks earlier I have compiled the order of battle of Turkish Navy here. This is the order of battle for Turkish Coast Guard:

Active Building Planned
Offshore patrol vessels 4
Large patrol craft 58
Small patrol craft 47
Control craft 85
Search and rescue craft 44
Helicopters 14
Planes 3

A detailed version of the above list:

Active Building Planned
Dost class off shore patrol vessels 4
Type 80 class 18
Sar 35 class 4
Sar 33 class 10
Türk class 4
Kaan 33 class 13
Kaan 29 class 9
Kaan 19 class 17
Kaan 15 class 18
Piket  class 2
Hector 42 class 10
Saget class 23
Various RHIP type craft 62
Search and rescue craft 44
AB-412 helicopters 14
CN-235 MPA planes 3

For more information about the future shipbuilding project for Turkish Navy and Turkish Coast Guard, here is an interesting read.

Greek Coast Guard Boat Run Aground In Turkish Territorial Waters

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LS-604 of Hellenic Coast Guard, in one of her better days. Photo: Devrim Yaylalı

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A few meters more that the LS-604 would not be aground but on the ground. Photo: denizhaber.com

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LS-604 finally free again. Photo: denizhaber.com

The Motomarine Pathner 57 MkII class patrol boat LS-604 of Greek Coast Guard ran aground inside Turkish territorial waters on 14 January 2015. The boat was in hot pursuit of the fast motor boat Rüzgar009 which was suspected of smuggling. The incident happened at 00.21 according to Turkish Coast Guard.

The grounding happened near Tuz Burnu north of Didim. Turkish Coast Guard dispatched one plane and several smaller boats to side at night. In the next morning one Dost class OPV and 3 smaller boats from Turkish Coast Guard were deployed to the incident side. The shallowness of the water made the re floating of LS-604 a bit tricky. The boat was however refloated on 15 January 2016 at 11.45.

The hull of the boat did not suffered any damages but her main machinery was not working. LS-604 was towed by a Turkish Coast Guard vessel to the outside of Turkish territorial water where the Greek Coast Gaurd vessel LS-020 resumed the towing.

Below is an official video ofrom Turkish Coast Guard. The first 3 minutes were taken by the coast guard plane at night.

More Information About Operation Albatros

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TCSG Umut towing M/V Joudi. Photo: Turkish Coast Guard

The ships, taking part in Operation Albatos, the seizure of the Bolivian flagged cargo ship M/V Joudi have returned to Aksaz Naval Base.

More details about the Operation Albatros has emerged.The 13600 kilogram marijuana with a street value of 250 million USD was loaded to the ship in Tartus in Syria. All ports in Syria are controlled by the Mr Assad’s regime.

On 2 January 2015 the ship was spotted by a Turkish Coast Guard plane and was tracked. In the mean time the off shore patrol vessels TCSG Yaşam and TCSG Umut left their ports and proceeded to intercept the ship. During the transit of these cutters Turkey contacted Bolivia the flag state of the ship according to United Nations Convention Against Illicit Traffic In Narcotic Drugs And Psychotropic Subtances, article 17. After Bolivia has granted Turkey the right for the seizure.

On 5 January 2015 Turkish cutters closed on the target and demanded the cargo ship to stop allowed to be boarded. When M/V Joudi did not cooperated she found herself at the receiving end of the cutters powerful water cannon. But this was not enough to stop the ship. The vessel boarding search and seizure team had to fast rope to the ship.

After the ship was totally under control, narcotic detection dogs were brought on board. The stash was found inside one of the containers in the cargo bay.

This video shows the breefing on board of TCSG Yaşam today by the Commander of Turkish Coast Guard Rear Admiral Hakan Üstem:

This video is a complation of videos taken by the coast guard crew taken part in the operation:

 

Turkish Coast Guard Intercepts Cargo Ship With Drugs On Board

Operation Albatros.

Operation Albatros. The red line is the track of TCSG Umut. The blue line shows the route of TCSG Yaşam. The green line is the track of M/V Joudi.

On 5 January 2015, Turkish Coast Guard intercepted a Bolivian flagged vessel in international waters off Tobruk, Libya. The vessel was varying 13 tons of cannabis.

The seizure took place in international waters 55 nautical miles from Tobruk and 140 nautical miles from Create.

The target M/V Joudi was intercepted by two Turkish Coast Guard OPV’s TCSG Yaşam and TCSG Umut. TCSG Yaşam departed from Mersin and TCSG Umut departed from Marmaris. A maritime patrol plane from Turkish Coast Guard shadowed M/V Jourdi. The vessel boarding search and seizure team was supported by two narcotic detection dogs.

When M/V Jourdi departed from Syria, international drug traffic enforcement authorities were tipped of about the 13 tons of narcotics on board. Turkish Coast Guard started to track the ship on 3 January 2015.

In the mean time Turkey contacted the flag nation of the vessel, Bolivia and received a permission for the seizure operation.

Currently the captured vessels is under the command of Turkish Coast Guard and is heading to Turkey. although her exact destination is not known at the moment it is safe to assume that she is heading to Aksaz Naval Base in Marmaris; the nearest Turkish naval base.

According to Turkish jurisdiction Turkish Coast Guard is the maritime law enforcement agency and has the right to detain suspects.  So they are correct force to conduct such operation but just a couple of years ago such a bust by Turkish Coast Guard was not possible since then they did not have any vessel with that range. The commissioning Dost class off shore patrol vessels dramatically increased operational area of our coast guard.

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