Eastern Libya NOC crude export termed illegal by UN

MT Distya Ameya 

The Indian-flag Distya Ameya arrived April 30 at about 9 a.m. local time at Zawiya in western Libya,   

The UN Security Council added the vessel to its sanctions list on April 27 after the Mediterranean island of Malta refused to let it dock there. The NOC in Tripoli called the shipment illegal and informed Libya’s newly formed UN-backed unity government about the eastern government’s attempt to export oil independently.   The Indian-flagged tanker Distya Ameya, which left the eastern Libyan port of Hariga carrying oil they said could not be lawfully sold. The eastern government has set up its own National Oil Corporation (NOC) to act in parallel to the Tripoli-based NOC that is recognised internationally as the only legitimate seller of Libyan oil.

A UN-backed unity government, which arrived in the capital in March, includes figures from across Libya’s divides but has not yet been fully accepted by either of the two loose alliances fighting for power since 2014.

the shipment had been ordered for a company called DSA Consultancy FZC, registered in the United Arab Emirates.    Dubai, Sharjah and Ajman, DSA, despite being three separate emirates, form a continuous urban area

[November 10 2014 Second tanker to load crude at Eastern Libyan Marsa El Hariga ]

A second tanker would dock later on November 23 at the port located in Tobruk to load 600,000 barrels of oil, NOC spokesman Mohammad el-Harari said.

IMO: 9188764
MMSI: 255805270
Gross Tonnage: 22848
Summer DWT: 35407 t
Build: 1999
Tb Marine Shipmanagement
Hamburg, Germany

With the exception of fishing vessels, MADEIRA INTERNATIONAL REGISTER accepts the registration of all types of commercial vessels, including oil rig platforms, as well as commercial and pleasure yachts. 

Madeira’s Register also offers a very competitive tax regime, applicable to both vessels and shipping companies licensed within the legal framework of the International Business Centre of Madeira.

For the convenience of our clients, the process of provisional registration of a vessel in MAR may now be initiated on-line.
 the licence is deemed to be granted in favour of the company once the applicant furnishes proof of the formation and registration of such company.

previous ports
MISURATA [LY] (2014-11-05 18:28:00)
AUGUSTA [IT] (2014-11-14 19:48:00)

[November 10 Tobruk guards block tanker loading ]

A tanker had been waiting for three days to lift oil from Hariga, located in Tobruk, but the guards did not allow it to do so,. The port was only open for fuel imports and the exports of refinery products,   The protesters at Hariga were part of a state security oil force that has gone on strike over pay several times this year.

[July 3 2011 Captain X Kyriakou: last crude out of Tobruk, Libya]

Captain X Kyriakou, Suezmax tanker, MH-flag, was chartered from Athenian Sea Carriers Ltd. by Swiss-based trading house Vitol earlier in July and is now leaving a position off Sarroch, Sardinia on a course of 157° perhaps towards Suez. It had been seen off Marsa El Hariga near Tobruk and Benghazi in eastern Libya, the rebels' stronghold.

The ship can carry up to 1 million barrels but was only partially loaded. The oil was from storage tanks rather than being fresh barrels from oilfields.

The cargo is the second export from the rebels and it may be the last before Libyan production restarts.

Athenian Sea Carriers Ltd.
Minos Kyriakou (b. 1942) established in 1965 Athenian Tankers Inc., with two small tankers he already owned. He initially built his business on the transportation of vegetable oils. In 1976, he established two oil trading corporations, Bacoil International and Athenian Oil Trading Inc., which trade petroleum products worldwide. At the age of 38, Minos became the youngest member of the Lloyd's Register of Shipping Committee in London, which oversees some 60 committees.
In 1999 Minos Kyriakou expanded his activities by establishing Antenna Group, the leading media group in Greece and the Greek-speaking world. In 1997, Kyriakou took over the Panellinios athletics club. The club organizes the Athens Tsiklitiria international meeting; in 1999, Maurice Green ran the 100 m in 9"79 (world record). In 2002, the IAAF decided to include the Athens meeting among the seven meetings of the Super Grand Prix. Kyriakou is also President of the the Hellenic Olympic Committee

Ship Type: Tanker
Year Built: 2003
Length x Breadth: 274 m X 48 m
DeadWeight: 159113 t
Speed recorded (Max / Average): 12.7 / 7.4 knots
Flag: Marshall Is [MH]
Call Sign: V7FD6
IMO: 9269087, MMSI: 538001913


Pakistan’s Gwadar Port vs South China Sea crude route


Chinese Overseas Ports will manage Pakistan’s Gwadar Port free-trade zone  the free-trade zone on a 43-year lease. 
Gwadar port is a deep sea port that sits next to the Strait of Hormuz, the key oil route in and out of the Persian Gulf and it lies only 120km from the Iranian border.. With a deep-sea port in the Arabian Sea and a land route to remote western China, some of Beijing’s Middle Eastern oil could travel the short route through Pakistan, instead of 6,000 miles through the Malacca Straits to Shanghai. That’s the route more than 80 percent of China’s oil and natural resources now have to take.  The South China Sea extends from the Malacca Straits to the Strait of Taiwan, where China is in conflict with the United States and its allies for control .   The newly-minted USN commander of the carrier strike group said the increased U.S. military presence in Southeast Asia does not risk making things worse. Last year, the U.S. began to challenge China by sailing warships near its reclaimed reefs in so-called freedom of navigation operations.

“This is a routine, scheduled deployment,” Rear Adm. Marcus Hitchcock said. “We’ve committed to unimpeded commerce in this region.”   The resumption of freedom of navigation operations in the area is not a challenge to sovereignty, he added. “They are challenges to excessive territorial claims. We take no position on sovereignty other than to say we hope there is a peaceful and diplomatic resolution to sovereignty challenges here in this region.”

[February 5  Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Curtis Wilbur (DDG 54)  in FONOP]

On January 30, the United States Navy conducted its second freedom of navigation operation (FONOP) in recent months. This time, the destroyer USS Curtiss Wilbur transited within twelve nautical miles of Triton Island—a PRC-held feature in the Paracels also claimed by Vietnam and Taiwan. Unlike Subi Reef, which was the focus of the USS Lassen’s FON patrol last October, Triton Island is not one of China’s artificial islands. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying condemned the operation, stating that the American vessel “violated the relevant Chinese law [on innocent passage] and entered China’s territorial sea without authorization.” Her counterpart, Lu Kang, suggested that the operation was nothing more than “the pursuit of maritime hegemony . . . under the cloak of ‘freedom of navigation.’ ,U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia Daniel Russel clarified that the ASEAN summit that President Obama will host this month is “not anti-China.” The Pentagon did not notify any of the three countries of its plans to transit the area.
[May 3 2008 China's concern about its access to vital sea lanes
Sanya Hainan
Jane's Intelligence Review editor Christian Le Miere said: "China's nuclear and naval build-up at Sanya underlines Beijing's desire to assert tighter control over this region.

"China's increasing dependence on imported petroleum and mineral resources has contributed to an intensified Chinese concern about defending its access to vital sea lanes, particularly to its south.

"It is this concern that in large part is driving China's development of power-projection naval forces such as aircraft carriers and long-range nuclear submarines." here


USN Special Projects Patrol Squadron (VPU) 2 “Wizards” had a spy

Lt. Cmdr. Edward C. Lin faces several counts of espionage and other charges outlined during a April 8 Article 32 hearing in Norfolk, Va. Lin had a career as a signals intelligence specialist on the Navy’s Lockheed Martin EP-3E Aries II reconnaissance aircraft.   The U.S. Naval Institute said Lin also had been a department head with the Special Projects Patrol Squadron  (VPU) 2 “Wizards” at Kaneohe Bay, a highly secretive group that flies specially-modified spy planes and has been known to change aircraft paint schemes and identifying numbers to blend in with other Navy planes.
Lin’s job on the Aries II, which bear a resemblance to the maritime surveillance and anti-submarine warfare P-3C Orion, was to manage the collection of electronic signals from the aircraft – a central coordinator. The specifics of how the U.S. gathers signals from potential adversaries are among the military’s most closely guarded secrets. Knowing the methodology for how the U.S. gathers signals intelligence – information that Lin would likely have with his Aries II experience – could allow adversaries to devise ways to counter U.S. monitoring.

[July 20 2014 RIMPAC gets four China navy ship participants and one spy ]

Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy electronic surveillance ship Beijixing (pennant number 851). A ship of this class is currently off the coast of Oahu, monitoring RIMPAC 2014.  

 “This AGI is most likely to be the Type 815 Dongdiao-class intelligence collection vessel Beijixing (pennant number 851), home ported in the East Sea Fleet,” Erickson, an associate professor at the Naval War College said.

“Beijixing is the most experienced vessel from the PLAN’s [China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy ] most advanced class of AGI. Based on Internet photos and Japanese government and other media reports, Beijixing is China’s most well-traveled AGI, having operated frequently near and within Japan’s claimed Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).”   What’s strange about the Chinese ship monitoring RIMPAC from afar is four PLAN ships and their crews have already been included in most levels of the operation.   RIMPAC — held every two years — includes 50 ships, 200 aircraft and more than 25,000 military personnel from 23 nations. The exercises will run until August.

[March 9 2013]

Chinese Navy's missile destroyer "Harbin" fires during the AMAN-13 exercise in the Arabian Sea, March 8, 2013. Naval ships from 14 countries, including China, the United States, Britain and Pakistan, joined a five-day naval drill in the Arabian Sea from March 4, involving 24 ships, 25 helicopters, and special forces.

The U.S., which traditionally has maintained an impressive array of naval forces comprised of units of the Sixth Fleet, had decided to reduce its naval presence in the Eastern Mediterranean, but in view of the increased traffic -- from Russia, China and especially the Islamic Republic of Iran -- has now changed its mind and will retain a significant naval force in the area.
Regional security arrangements have changed considerably since the onset of the Arab Spring, and developments in the Middle East have enhanced Cairo’s role within the strategic framework. Reliable sources say the Muslim Brotherhood-controlled government has offered Washington “more than facilities” in order to ensure Washington’s continued support during the Muslim Brothers’ crisis-ridden bid to secure control over the state.
Officials at the US embassy in Cairo confirmed the impression of a continuing close relationship between Egypt’s Armed Forces, the US Defense Department and the administration in Washington.

[March 1]The 14th naval squad, sent by the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy, departed February 16 from China to the Gulf of Aden and Somali waters for escort missions.

[February 25 2011]
China said it was sending a navy ship to protect its citizens being evacuated. The PLA Navy has just dispatched Xuzhou,F530, a Type 054 Jiangkai-II class missile frigate, from the ongoing seventh PLAN anti-piracy task force deployment off Somalia to steam to Libyan coast to provide support and protection for the ongoing evacuation mission there. The escort mission has been approved by the Central Military Commission, according to Xinhua, and at least 6,300 of the roughly 30,000 PRC citizens in Libya have been evacuated. Xuzhou incorporates many stealth features: sloped hull design; radar absorbent materials; and reduction of surface equipment and features.

Builders: Hudong-Zhonghua Shipyard
Huangpu Shipyard
Operators: People's Liberation Army Navy
Preceded by: Type 054 frigate
Succeeded by: Type 054B frigate
Cost: ¥ 1.58 billion
Completed: 10

General characteristics
Type: Frigate
Displacement: 4,053 tonnes (full), 3,600 tonnes (standard)
Length: 134 m (440 ft)(CCTV report)
Beam: 16 m (52 ft) (CCTV report)
Propulsion: CODAD, 4 x SEMT Pielstick 16 PA6 STC diesels, 5700 kW (7600+ hp @ 1084 rpm) each
Speed: 30 kn estimated
Range: 3,800 miles estimated
Sensors and processing systems:
Type 382 Radar (Upgraded from Type 381 Radar "Sea Eagle S/C") 3D air/surface search radar
Type 344 (Mineral-ME Band Stand) OTH target acquisition and SSM fire control radar
4 x Type 345 (MR-90 Front Dome) SAM fire control radars
MR-36A surface search radar, I-band
Type 347G 76 mm gun fire control radar
2 x Racal RM-1290 navigation radars, I-band
MGK-335 medium frequency active/passive sonar system
ZKJ-4B/6 (developed from Thomson-CSF TAVITAC) combat data system
HN-900 Data link (Chinese equivalent of Link 11A/B, to be upgraded)
Electronic warfare
and decoys: Type 922-1 radar warning receiver
HZ-100 ECM & ELINT system
Armament: 1 x HQ-16 32-cell VLS SAM launcher
2 x 4 C-803 anti-ship / land attack cruise missiles
1 x 76 mm dual purpose gun
2 x Type 730 7-barrel 30 mm CIWS guns
Triple 324 mm YU-7 ASW torpedoes
2 x Type 726-4 18-tube decoy rocket launchers
Aircraft carried: 1 Kamov Ka-28 'Helix' or Harbin Z-9C
Aviation facilities:


North Korean ship Jin Teng seized, Ocean Maritime Management Company sanctioned

Jin Teng

The Philippines said on March 5  it had seized a North Korean freighter that was covered by harsher United Nations' sanctions against Pyongyang over its nuclear program.
Manila will also deport the vessel's 21 North Korean crew and will await a U.N. inspection team from the United Nations.  Jin Teng   6,830 deadweight tonne (dwt) cargo ship Jin , flying a Sierra Leone flag, arrived on Feb. 27 and was unloading palm kernels.    The U.N. resolution said the 31 ships were "economic resources controlled or operated by Ocean Maritime Management and therefore subject to the asset freeze".
The Jin Teng has called at Palembang, Indonesia, and Kaohsiung, Taiwan, since the beginning of this year.

[July 30 2014  Ocean Maritime Management Company sanctioned for smuggling arms on Chong Chon Gang, North Korean ship seized ]

U.S. Treasury Department  announced July 30 it was imposing sanctions on the Chongchongang Shipping Company, which owned the ship. It also sanctioned Ocean Maritime Management Company, which allegedly provided the ship's captain and crew with instructions to conceal the weapons and provide false documentation

[February 15 Chong Chon Gang:departs Panama for Cuba]
Chong Chon Gang, North Korean ship seized with undeclared Cuban weapons on board is returning to Cuba, says the Panamanian government.Panama's Foreign Ministry said the ship set off on February 15.

[July 31 2013]

About 25 percent of the sugar has been removed so far. Officials have found most of the weapons Havana said were on board, including the two fighter jets, originally produced by the Soviet Union in the late 1950s, and two missile radar systems.

Investigators have gone through most of two storage houses in the 155-meter (510 foot) vessel, but three more warehouses remain.
Pentagon had long since written off the island as a military threat.
Since Cuba's military doctrine was designed to deter any attack, it needs to maintain the arms it has, he added.
'Cuba cannot afford to buy anything newer and does not have repair facilities of its own for such needs,' he said.
'Thus if it is not to scrap, for example, the aircraft entirely, it must repair and potentially update them in some areas.'
In early July, a top North Korean general, Kim Kyok Sik, visited Cuba and met counterparts on the island.

[July 22]

PANAMA CITY, Panama — Panamanian authorities have found two Soviet-era MiG-21 fighter jets aboard Chong Chon Gang, a North Korea-flagged ship seized this month as it tried to pass through the Panama Canal after departing from Cuba.

[July 18]
Arms smuggler?

Another old North Korean freighter, the 390-foot O Un Chong Nyon Ho, had made the same trip last year without attracting suspicion, passing through the Panama Canal and calling at the same two Cuban ports.

The two freighters were among five North Korean cargo vessels that had traversed the Panama Canal since 2010, underscoring the rarity of North Korean shipping in the area.

It was not known what cargo the O Un Chong Nyon Ho might have carried to or from Cuba in 2012 but it made the same Cuban port calls as its impounded sister vessel, stopping first in Havana for a few days in May 2012, then visiting Puerto Padre, a major sugar export point, for five days, then returning to Havana for a stopover of about three weeks before heading home.


Port of registry: Chongjin (North Korea) 
IMO: 8330815 
Call sign: HMAD 
Ex-names: - - - - 
Type/class: General cargo 
Built by: Chongjin Shipyard - Huichon (North Korea) in 1983 
DWT: 9,913 
Home port: Chongjin
Class society: Korean Shipping Register
Build year: 1983
Builder*: Chongjin Shipyard
Huichon, North Korea
Owner: Ocean Maritime Management
Pyongyang, North Korea
Manager: Ocean Maritime Management
Pyongyang, North Korea

North Korea is also known to be seeking to evade sanctions and get spare parts for its own weapons systems, particularly Mig jet fighters. That raises the possibility that in lieu of cash, Cuba was paying for the repairs with a mix of sugar and jet equipment, experts said.

“We think it is credible that they could be sending some of these systems for repair and upgrade work,” said Neil Ashdown, an analyst for IHS Jane’s Intelligence. “But equally there is stuff in that shipment that could be used in North Korea and not be going back.Panamanian authorities said it might take a week to search the ship, since so far they have only examined two of its five container sections.

[July 17]

On July 17, Cuba, one of North Korea's few allies, claimed the shipment as its own, with the foreign ministry listing 240 metric tons of "obsolete defensive weapons," including two anti-aircraft missile systems, as being on board.
There were also "nine missiles in parts and spares," various Mig-21 aircraft parts and 15 plane motors, "all of it manufactured in the mid-20th century" and "to be repaired and returned to Cuba."
"The agreements subscribed by Cuba in this field are supported by the need to maintain our defensive capacity in order to preserve national sovereignty," the ministry said in an English-language statement.   Analysts in Seoul said the North, which successfully launched a long-range rocket to put a satellite into orbit last December, was fully capable of providing missile repair services for other countries.
"But we cannot rule out the possibility of North Korea importing parts for its own Soviet-era missiles", Shin In-Kyun, president of the private Korea Defence Network

[July 16]

Chong Chon Gang IMO: 7937317

SNR-75 fire control radar

The Chong Chon Gang was tracked leaving Vostochnyy, Russia on April 12, according to Lloyd's List Intelligence, a maritime intelligence company. It was next registered arriving in Balboa, on the Panama Canal's Pacific side, on May 31, and crossed the waterway the next day with a stated destination of Havana, Cuba.

It then disappeared from the tracking system and reappeared in Manzanillo, Panama, on July 11, according to shipping data obtained by research group IHS Maritime. IHS said there were indications it had changed cargo in the interim.

IHS Jane, a global analytics firm, said it had identified the equipment shown in the images as an SNR-75 'Fan Song' fire control radar for the SA-2 family of surface-to-air missiles.


Listen to the full report in the following audio.


Hidden in sugar
Panamanian authorities have seized a North Korean-flagged ship traveling from Cuba that was carrying “undeclared military cargo," Panama's president, Ricardo Martinelli, said late Monday night.It retained a ship in the Port of Manzanillo in Columbus with military equipment from Cuba, North Korea flag  President Ricardo Martinelli said : "The ship brought sugar, removing the first litter found military equipment, the captain committed suicide, and the crew refused to cooperate. "
The seizure reportedly took place last Friday afternoon when Panamanian security forces boarded the Chong Chon Gang IMO: 7937317, as it prepared to enter the Panama Canal, apparently on its way to North Korea.
Vessel's Details
Ship Type: Cargo
Year Built: 1977
Length x Breadth: 155 m X 20 m
Gross Tonnage: 9147, DeadWeight: 13990 t
Speed recorded (Max / Average): 6 / 5.5 knots
Flag: DPR Korea [KP]
Call Sign: HMZF
IMO: 7937317, MMSI: 445114000
Last Position Received
Area: Panama Canal
Latitude / Longitude: 9.3700° / -79.8846° (Map)
Speed/Course 0 knots / 207˚
Last Known Port: MANZANILLO
Info Received: 2d 3h 41min ago (AIS Source: 98)
Not Currently in Range
Itineraries History
Voyage Related Info (Last Received)
Draught: 8.9 m
Destination: PANAMA
ETA: 2013-07-09 17:30
Info Received: 2013-07-14 06:56 (2d, 3h 41min ago)


Carrier Charles De Gaulle taking on board "fighting groups" for Libya

Charles De Gaulle

 "The French Aircraft Carrier Charles De Gaulle today passed through the Suez Canal," maritime officials from the Authority managing the Egyptian waterway said March 3.
On March 1 a "French military source" cited by an Arab media organ indicated that the aircraft carrier is headed "toward being off the Libyan coast" and was taking on board "fighting groups at the disposition of the French Army to gather information on Libya by air and sea".
The French source, cited by Al-Wasat, had indicated that the aircraft carrier left the Persian Gulf a week earlier and was due to arrive off the coast of Libya "at the end of the current week," which in Islamic countries finishes Friday, March 4.   It was sent to the Gulf in December to strike ISIL in Syria. It will carry out joint exercises with Egypt - a country very concerned about the ISIL's activities in Libya that conducted air strikes there in 2015.

[April 28 2014   Mediterranean: all those submarines]
American adversaries, such as Iran, Syria and Russia itself, still believe that President Obama is capable of using force to advance American interests, despite his reluctance to strike Syria last year. “We’ve now seen 15 to 20 percent of those chemical weapons on their way out of Syria with a very concrete schedule to get rid of the rest,” Obama says. “That would not have happened had the Iranians said, ‘Obama’s bluffing, he’s not actually really willing to take a strike.’ If the Russians had said, ‘Ehh, don’t worry about it, all those submarines that are floating around your coastline, that’s all just for show.’ Of course they took it seriously! That’s why they engaged in the policy they did.”

[;March 2 3014]
USS George H W Bush (CVN 77)

The US Navy's Nimitz-class nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS George H W Bush (CVN 77) departs Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia, on 15 February on its second deployment to support US Fifth and Sixth Fleet operations. It will carry out maritime and theatre security activities, and will support Operation 'Enduring Freedom'.

Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group (HST CSG) and French Navy Task Force 473 concluded five weeks of combined carrier strike group operations in the U.S. 5th Fleet Area of Responsibility (AOR) Feb 2.

The two strike groups began conducting integrated operations Dec. 26 in the Gulf of Oman and have operated together in the northern Arabian Sea and the Arabian Gulf

The aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush left Naval Station Norfolk on February 15  on its second deployment, leading a strike group of ships and aircraft to the Persian Gulf and Mediterranean Sea.

The deployment is part of an ongoing rotation of U.S forces in the region, the Navy said.

Besides the Bush, the strike group consists of the guided missile destroyer USS Truxton, which also left from Norfolk, plus two warships based at Naval Station Mayport in Florida: the guided missile destroyer USS Roosevelt and guided missile cruiser USS Philippine Sea.

The strike group is commanded by Rear Adm. John C. Aquilino and includes Carrier Air Wing 8, which consists of squadrons of fighter jets, early-warning aircraft, support planes and helicopters.

The USS Boxer ARG with the 13th MEU embarked is underway in the U.S. 5th Fleet AOR supporting maritime security operations and conducting theater security cooperation efforts.

The USS Bataan with the 22nd MEU embarked is underway for an eight-month deployment in the US 5th and 6th Fleet AORs supporting maritime security operations and conducting theater security cooperation efforts.

USS Maine (SSBN 741) 

The Ohio-Class Ballistic Missile Submarine USS Maine (SSBN 741) returns home to Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor following a strategic deterrent patrol.

[February 28]

A Russian warship is blocking the port of Balaklava in the Crimea. A Russian Tarantul-Class Missile Boat is seen in the video below blocking Balaklava bay incuding a coast guard base. Ivanovets # 954, Black Sea Fleet, 295th Sulinsk Missile Boat Division,Tarantul lll class corvette(1988).

Kaliningrad from Syria for Sevastopol?

Two Ropucha class landing ship from Russian Navy passed through Bosphorus returning from their Syrian deployment.   In Crimea, tensions are mounting as the Russian majority population threatens to secede and join Russia. Rallies have been held across the region, including in Sevastopol, which is home to Russia's Black Sea fleet.
Behind Kaliningrad at an interval of 20 minutes, at 07:40, was landing ship  Minsk, 127. This ship also belongs to the 71th Brigade of the Russian Navy.

[February 26]

On February 25, the Taylor's commander, Cmdr. Dennis Volpe, was relieved after the ship ran aground Feb. 12, 2014, in the Black Sea.

U.S. Naval Forces Europe confirms that the frigate USS Taylor is being inspected for damage after it ran around February 12 while preparing to moor in the northern Turkish port of Samsun which is 240 miles southwest of Sochi. The vessel was able to moor without further incident. There was some damage to the propeller blades, but there appears to be no damage to the hull.

The aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov stopped briefly in the Outer Moray Firth to refuel in December 2013. The Clyde-built HMS Defender escorted the group while it was in the "UK's area of interest", said Mr Hammond. The minister was responding to challenges from MPs on Monday that the Royal Navy was not prepared for the appearance of the Russian warships. Mr Hammond said that the Russian task group's deployment was "openly declared" on social media sites. Nato was also informed of the route and planned training exercises. Mr Hammond said: "Once it became apparent that the task group was indeed likely to enter the UK's area of interest, HMS Defender, as the fleet ready escort ship, was ordered to sail from Portsmouth to meet and escort the group through the UK's area of interest.

HMS Defender from The aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov

[February 9]
USS Mount Whitney off Sochi
USS Taylor off Sochi

"Seliger", it was commissioned in December 2012 and was described at the time as a "deep-sea research vessel".
Officer of the watch, USS Mount Whitney, in the Bosphorus

February 4, at 16:10 (Kiev time) command ship of the U.S. Navy «Mount Whitney» was the Bosphorus (Turkey) in the direction of the Black Sea. 

 [February 5]

The command ship USS Mount Whitney (LCC-20), which carries 300 military and civilian personnel arrived in The Black Sea on February 4.

The Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigate USS Taylor (FFG-50) is expected to enter the Black Sea February 5.

Besides the mini-naval task force expected to sail between the Dardanelles within the week,US Marines out of Camp Lejeune, NC are already in the Black Sea Area of Operations.
When it absolutely, positively has to be destroyed overnight ...
Formed as a rapid reaction force in 2010, Marines have been tasked with manning the Black Sea Rotation Force (BSFR) if and when the United States needs people killed and things destroyed in the region, post haste.
With the exact number of Marines assigned to BSRF-14 not available for public consumption, the Military Times noted on Jan. 11, 2014, that Leathernecks from the 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance (LAR) Battalion are currently deployed, with their base of operations being out of the Black Sea port city of Constanța, Romania.

The USS Mount Whitney supports maritime security operations with the Georgian coast guard in the Black Sea, which is within the U.S. 6th Fleet’s area of responsibility, Nov. 13, 2013.
guided-missile frigate USS Taylor (FFG 50)

The USS Mount Whitney left its homeport of Gaeta, Italy, January 31 — the first of two U.S. Navy ships that will be operating in the Black Sea during the Sochi Olympics. The other vessel, the frigate USS Taylor, is scheduled to depart an Italian port on February 1. Both ships will likely enter the Black Sea sometime over the coming week. The USS Mount Whitney (LCC-20) left Italy “to conduct scheduled maritime security operations in the U.S. Sixth Fleet area of operations. The USS Taylor (FFG-50) began operating in the Sixth Fleet in early January, officials said. The fact that two U.S. Navy ships would deploy to the Black Sea around the time of the Winter Games has been known for a few weeks but Pentagon officials had not identified the vessels until today.

29 January 2014, 17:11
Welcome to Sochi, no US warships required.   In reality however there is no need for US warships. The Russian Black Sea Fleet is perfectly capable of dealing with such contingencies

 The Voice of Russia   http://voiceofrussia.com/
[January 25]

The January 17, 2014 Ramage Sailor of the Day is CTT2 Kevin Hammick from Stockton, California. He reported onboard the USS Ramage in July 2013 and serves as an Electronic Warfare Operator in CIC. During the recent port visit in Istanbul, Turkey, CTT2 Hammick responded to an early morning Snoopie Team call. Although not in a duty status, CTT2 did not hesitate to proceed on station, bringing along critical equipment needed by the Team for data collection to the Pilot House. Thank you for your selfless devotion to duty and a job well done!

Snoopie team

Underway Replenishment

 Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby clarified reports that the U.S. had deployed two Navy ships to the Black Sea solely to provide assistance if called upon by the Russians. His office had issued a statement earlier this week saying two ships would be available in the Black Sea for support.

"They are not in the Black Sea now. I don't want to get ahead of the ship's movements," he said, adding the ships already had been planning to steam into the Black Sea for unrelated reasons.
 Breedlove, commander of U.S. European Command, had considered offering up the ships to assist the Russian government, Kirby said, but only in anticipation of the Russians possibly asking for help.

"The responsibility for security at the Olympics rests with the Russian government," Kirby said. "It's their responsibility and not anybody else's."

"There are no such requests and we don't envision any such demand" from the Russians, he added. "There has been no specific planning for evacuation. There has been no request to have a plan to do that right now."

Most Navy ships are able to deploy and receive helicopters and provide medical assistance. They also can serve as command-and-control centers if the need arises, Kirby said.

 U.S. warships occasionally make port calls to countries in the region, such as Ukraine, Romania and Georgia. A ship has also participated in the annual Sea Breeze naval exercise, held each summer with co-host Ukraine.

Turkey limits the number and tonnage of foreign warships passing through the Turkish Straits and operating in the Black Sea through a 1936 convention that the U.S. has adhered to in the past. Aircraft carriers or large amphibious ships often used for humanitarian assistance would exceed the aggregate 30,000-ton weight restriction of the agreement, although smaller dock landing ships, destroyers and cruisers, would all fall under the limit. 

Foreign naval vessels are only allowed to stay in the Black Sea for 21 days under the convention

In comparison, for the Athens Games in 2004, the FBI sent 150 agents and the Defense Department positioned an aircraft carrier off the coast, said Raymond Mey, a former FBI agent and deputy on-scene commander at the time. 
[October 7 2013]

An accused al-Qaida operative captured by U.S. commandos in Libya, known by the alias Anas al-Liby, is in military custody on the USS San Antonio and is being interrogated for intelligence purposes without a lawyer present.    The USS San Antonio, an amphibious ship carrying Marines, arrived September 4 in Haifa, Israel.   A Navy press release called the visit routine.    Amphibious dock landing ship  Carter Hall was still in the Middle East as of Sept. 2
[September 18]
Russian Mediterranean TASK FORCE UNITS ARRIVING (SEPT 29)
Corvette – RFS Ivanovets – Tarantul Class Guided Missile Corvette
With over 30 sales on the export market the Tarantul has been a relative success for the Russian shipbuilding industry.

Corvette – RFS Shtil – Nanuchka Class Guided Missile Corvette
These ships were designed around the P-120 Malakhit anti ship missile.   It was the Mirazh, a  Nanuchka Class corvette, that sank a Georgian vessel during an attempted attack on Russian ships near Abkhazia's coast on August 10, 2008

[September 17]
The destroyer Smetlivy left a naval base in Sevastopol, Ukraine, on September 10 on a mission to the Syrian coast.   Smetlivy would travel to the Mediterranean with the amphibious assault ship Nikolai Filchenkov, which left Novorossiysk  carrying unidentified supplies for the Damascus government.
USS Kearsarge - USS Arctic

GULF OF OMAN (Aug. 30, 2013) The amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) conducts a replenishment-at-sea with the Military Sealift Command fast combat support ship USNS Arctic (T-AOE . Kearsarge is the flagship for the Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group and, with the embarked 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, is deployed in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility.


Russian missile cruiser, the Moskva [ex-Slava], will arrive by Sept. 17 .    The Slava class cruiser (Soviet designation Project 1164 Atlant),    launched 1979, commissioned 1982, renamed in 1995.    As there was nothing revolutionary about the design of the class western observers felt they were created as a hedge against the failure of the more radical Kirov class.

 The helicopter hangar deck is located 1/2 deck below the landing pad with a ramp connecting the two The Baltic and Black Sea fleets are each sending a destroyer

Kuznetsov to deliver Yak-130 jets on order?

“At the end of the year, most likely in early December, the Project 11435 heavy aircraft-carrying cruiser the Admiral Kuznetsov will set off on a long-distance sea voyage during which it will call at the Russian Federation Navy's logistical support centre located in the Syrian city of Tartus,” Russia refers to the ship as an aircraft-carrying cruiser because “under international treaties aircraft carriers are banned from passing through the Bosporus and Dardanelles…. But this ban does not extend to aircraft-carrying cruisers.”

Spy ship Priazovye

The reconnaissance ship Priazovye left Russia's naval base in the Ukrainian Black Sea port of Sevastopol for the Syrian coast on September 1

The Nimitz Carrier Strike Group  had been in the Indian Ocean supporting U.S. operations in Afghanistan but was due to sail east around Asia to return to its home port in Everett, Washington, after being relieved in recent days by another aircraft carrier, the USS Harry S. Truman.

Given the situation in Syria, U.S. military officials decided to reroute the Nimitz and send it west toward the Red Sea, and possibly the Mediterranean, officials said.

The five American guided-missile destroyers and one amphibious transport are going to continue to stay in place for now.   President Barack Obama pushed back the timetable August 31 for a potential attack on Syria, saying, the chairman has indicated to me that our capacity to execute this mission is not time-sensitive; it will be effective tomorrow, or next week, or one month from now.   

Defense officials did not – and do not ever – address the movements of U.S. Navy submarines, which also may be lurking in the waters off Syria and could be called upon to launch missiles.

Missile firing from Horizon-class Frigate Chevalier Paul,

The French Navy frigate Chevalier Paul, is steaming toward the eastern Mediterranean.

USS Florida
KINGS BAY, Ga. (July 3, 2013) The Ohio-class guided-missile submarine USS Florida (SSGN 728) departs Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay. Florida will perform routine operations while at sea. 
July 11, 2013.   As political unrest continues in post-coup Egypt, USS San Antonio amphibious assault ship has moved to the coast there.
USS San Antonio GULF OF ADEN (Aug. 18, 2013)

August 31, 2013.   The USS San Antonio, an amphibious ship with several hundred US Marines on board, was positioned near five US destroyers armed with cruise missiles.
 San Antonio's passage into the Mediterranean was long-planned, but officials thought it prudent to keep the ship in the eastern Mediterranean near the destroyers given the current situation.
"It's been kept there as a precaution," one said.

The destroyer Stout is en route to the Eastern Mediterranean Sea, marking the fifth destroyer to be positioned near Syria, a defense official tells Navy Times.
It’s unclear how long five destroyers would be in the area, but the official said all are expected to remain “for the time being.”
The Stout is expected to arrive in the eastern Med later August 29 the official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity

Pentagon has yet to release to the public if the Truman Battle Group is steaming back to the Mediterranean or towards the Arabian Sea.

The MoD cryptically says that "a number of warships recently left Britain for exercises in the Mediterranean."
A Royal Navy (RN) currently has a Naval Rapid Reaction Force on station in the Eastern Mediterranean centered around the helicopter carrier HMS Illustrious along with two frigates and a yet to be identified nuclear-powered Trafalgar class submarine as well as three RFAs

[earlier] On 25 August, 2013 fhere are now four destroyers positioned in the eastern Mediterranean Sea: the Mahan, Barry, Gravely and Ramage. The Mahan was initially scheduled to head home, being replaced by the Ramage. But for now, Mahan will remain deployed, the official said. Mahan has been ordered to patrol the Eastern Mediterranean Sea, amid the rising rumors of an imminent military action in Syria.     

Factions within the administration line up largely along two fronts: those who want the U.S. to take more decisive action to counter widespread violence in both Egypt and Syria, and senior military who are arguing for moderation.   Aug. 21, 2013 “The use of U.S. military force can change the military balance,” Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, added. “But it cannot resolve the underlying and historic ethnic, religious and tribal issues that are fueling this conflict.”

Instead, he spoke in favor of an expansion of the Obama administration’s current policy.

The U.S. can provide far greater humanitarian assistance and, if asked, do more to bolster a moderate opposition in Syria. Such an approach “represents the best framework for an effective U.S. strategy toward Syria,” Dempsey said.

The lack of a unified position — both within the administration and in Congress  — is giving Obama time and space for his cautious approach.

Class & type: Arleigh Burke-class destroyer
Displacement: Light: approx. 6,805 tons
Full: approx. 8,939 tons
Length: 505 ft (154 m)
Beam: 66 ft (20 m)
Draft: 31 ft (9.4 m)
Propulsion: 4 General Electric LM2500-30 gas turbines, two shafts, 100,000 total shaft horsepower (75 MW)
Speed: >30 knots (56 km/h)
Range: 4,400 nautical miles at 20 knots
(8,100 km at 37 km/h)
Complement: 33 Officers
38 Chief Petty Officers
210 Enlisted Personnel
Sensors and
processing systems:
AN/SPY-1D 3D Radar
AN/SPS-67(V)2 Surface Search Radar
AN/SPS-73(V)12 Surface Search Radar
AN/SQS-53C Sonar Array
AN/SQR-19 Tactical Towed Array Sonar
AN/SQQ-28 LAMPS III Shipboard System
Electronic warfare
& decoys:
AN/SLQ-32(V)2 Electronic Warfare System
AN/SLQ-25 Nixie Torpedo Countermeasures
MK 36 MOD 12 Decoy Launching System
1 × 29 cell, 1 × 61 cell Mk 41 vertical launch systems with 90 × RIM-156 SM-2, BGM-109 Tomahawk or RUM-139 VL-Asroc missiles
1 × Mark 45 5/54 in (127/54 mm)
2 × 25 mm chain gun
4 × .50 caliber (12.7 mm) guns
2 × 20 mm Phalanx CIWS
2 × Mk 32 triple torpedo tubes
Aircraft carried: 1 SH-60 Sea Hawk helicopter can be embarked

The aircraft carrier USS Harry S Truman, by far the most powerful warship in the region, left the Mediterranean last weekend, passing through the Suez Canal into the Red Sea.   ST CSG includes Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 10; aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75); guided-missile cruisers USS San Jacinto (CG 56) and USS Gettysburg (CG 64); guided-missile destroyers USS Bulkeley (DDG 84) and USS Mason (DDG 87); embarked 1st Combined Destroyer Squadron staff; and embarked Carrier Air Wing 3 and its squadrons: Strike Fighter Squadrons (VFA) 32 "Swordsmen," VFA-37 "Ragin' Bulls," and VFA-105 "Gunslingers," Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 312 "Checkerboards," Airborne Early Warning Squadron 126 "Seahawks," Electronic Attack Squadron 130 "Zappers," Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 7 "Dusty Dogs," and Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 74 "Swamp Foxes".

Having completed a major refit in the past few weeks, the French nuclear aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle is operational. Officials say she remains for now in the Mediterranean port of Toulon
The helicopter carrier HMS Illustrious left Portsmouth Naval Base and will join the navy flagship HMS Bulwark, which has sailed from Devonport for the Cougar '13 operation.

Sailing on August 27 will be HMS Westminster, a type 23 frigate, which will visit Gibraltar en route.

Other UK ships taking part are another type 23 frigate, HMS Montrose, and six Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) ships.    The Royal Navy has kept a nuclear-powered Trafalgar class submarine, armed with Tomahawk missiles,in the Mediterranean in recent months