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Displaying items by tag: Russian Navy

The recent stately progress through the English Channel of the giant Russian Aircraft Carrier Admiral Kuznetsov and the Battle Cruiser Peter the Great in a flotilla of eight warships bound for the Eastern Mediterranean has been a matter of fascination for naval historians and many others writes W M Nixon.

But anyone who has ever had trouble with faulty injectors causing their marine diesel engine to belch black smoke will have felt a twinge of sympathy for the team trying to keep the Kuznetov show on the road. For even as the still rakish-looking thirty year old carrier hove into view, the first thing any boat-owner would have noticed was the huge volume of dark grey and often black smoke billowing from the mighty smokestack.

And it wasn’t just a brief interlude of smoke-making when they gave the old ship a bit of throttle to get her past the White Cliffs of Dover with a bit of style. On the contrary, there was always foul-looking smoke pouring out – the only change that came from time to time was just how much.

It turns out that the flagship of the Russian navy – built between 1982 and 1990 – has always been regarded as a bit of a jinxed ship, with such a history of engine breakdown that she never goes anywhere without her own personal tugboat in attendance, just to be sure to be sure.

So you would feel sorry for the Chief Engineer charged with the task of keeping her in action, for after a day of getting covered in muck keeping those pesky engines going, chances are that he’ll not be able to have a refreshing shower at the end of his watch, as half the ship’s plumbing systems have never worked properly, if at all.

But however she gets to her destination, the fact is that when the engines are running at all she can build up to an impressive speed. And even if she has to be towed ignominiously to a strategic location, once she’s there her huge force of aircraft add a completely new dimension to any war situation. Thus the eventual presence of the Kuznetsov in the Eastern Mediterranean will be a major bargaining chip in deciding the future of the beleaguered city of Aleppo in Syria.

So black smoke or not, this is a formidable warship which can do the business if called upon. It’s all decidedly different from the episode back in 1904, when Imperial Russia and the Empire of Japan were at war over Russia’s ambition to maintain a year-round naval base on the Pacific.

There, their own port of Vladivostock in eastern Siberia was inaccessible in winter ice, but a leased base further south at Port Arthur in Manchuria provided the facilities required. Howeve, Imperial Japan didn’t want the Russians being a naval presence in the Pacific, so in a surprise attack on 8th February, they more or less wiped out the Russian Pacific Fleet.

This caused a certain indignation in the palaces of Imperial Russia, where it was decided the only appropriate response was to send virtually the entire Russian Baltic Fleet to the Far East to teach the Japanese a lesson. It was a Quixotic endeavor from the start, and it took all of seven months, using half a million tons of coal.

The naval officers in charge – ancient Russian aristocracy of heroic incompetence – had rather hoped their voyage would take them through the Solent, where they could stop off at Cowes or Portsmouth and host gala balls for the English aristocracy. But unfortunately in going through the North Sea, the excitement of having exited the Baltic was too much for one ship’s crew, and they opened fire on English fishing boats on the Dogger Bank under the impression they were Japanese gunboats.

The result of this was that any invites to the Royal Yacht Squadron at Cowes were off, and worse still the Russians weren’t even allowed to take the short cut through the Suez Canal, resulting in the logistical nightmare of finding places to re-coal as they made their stately progress round the Cape of Good Hope.

Finally, after many miles of meandering up through the Indian Ocean and the myriad of islands between it and their destination, the gallant Imperial Russian Baltic Fleet met up with the numerically superior Navy of the Empire of Japan in the Straits of Tsushima on May 27th 1905. By May 28th, two-thirds of the Russian fleet of 38 vessels – including six First Class battleships – had been annihilated, while the remainder were beyond use.

russian navy2The Battle of Tsushima (27-28 May 1904) saw the Imperial Russian Baltic Fleet lose six First Class Battleships to the Navy of the Empire of Japan

After this debacle and other setbacks, the Russian Revolution of 1917 was only a question of time. Today, Russia’s navy is a very different animal to that quaint fleet of 1904. So though we may feel a certain sympathy for the toiling ship’s engineers who labour with ingenuity in impossible conditions to keep the Admiral Kuznetsov in action, you certainly wouldn’t want to see her moored off your lawn. And Gala Balls with dashing Tolstoyan officers are definitely not on the agenda.

Published in Naval Visits
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#RUSSIAN NAVY - While Dublin Port was visited by USS Fort McHenry (LSD-43) over the last week, the Russian Navy's Vice-Admiral Kulakov (626) paid a courtesy call to Cork Harbour, berthing at Cobh, normally associated with frequent cruise callers, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The imposing Udaloy anti-submarine destroyer berthed alongside Cobh's deepwater quay last week, where the public had rare access to board the 162m destroyer commissioned in 1982.

Later this month the Cork Harbour Open Weekend (15-16th Sept) as previously reported on Afloat.ie will offer two-days of fun filled activities for all ages, with events and activities for all, both on and off the water.

Published in Naval Visits
After making a rare Irish call, the Russian Navy anti-submarine destroyer Admiral Chabaneko (650) departed Dublin Port, this morning, writes Jehan Ashmore.
The pilot cutter Dodder escorted the 8,950 tons full load displacement Udaloy II class destroyer out into Dublin Bay as far as the Baily Lighthouse. From there the 30-knot capable destroyer passed the North Burford bouy and headed for the Kish Lighthouse to proceed southbound over the horizon.

The 534ft long vessel was built for the KGB Maritime Border Guard and is heavily equipped with missiles, torpedoes, guns and the ability to carry helicopters.

Admiral Chabaneko had arrived on Friday afternoon and docked at berth 30 in the inner port area within Alexandra Basin West. The last Russian naval visit was taken by one of her half-sisters, Severomorsk, a Udaloy-I class destroyer that docked at Ocean Pier in Alexandra Basin East for a three-day visit in 2009.

Published in Navy
A rare naval visitor to Dublin Port is to be made from that of the Russian Navy when the anti-submarine destroyer Admiral Chabaneko (650) is to dock next weekend, writes Jehan Ashmore.
Measuring 8,950 tons full load displacement and 163m/ 534ft long, she was the first of only two Udaloy-II class built to serve the KGB Maritime Border Guard. She can achieve around 30 knots and as a destroyer is heavily equipped with missiles, torpedoes, guns and the ability to carry helicopters.

Admiral Chabaneko was built by Yantar Zavod in Kaliningrad, and her sister Admiral Basisty though she was cancelled and scrapped in 1994. In 1996 Admiral Chabaneko was transferred to the Russian Navy but was not commissioned until two years later. In 1999 she changed naval base from Baltysk to Severomorsk to take up service in the Northern Fleet.

The last such call by the Russian Navy to Dublin was by her half-sister, Severomorsk, one of over a dozen of the original Udaloy-I class destroyers built, which made a three-day visit to the capital in 2009.

Severomorsk had arrived from Cherbourg after completing in FRUKUS 2009, an international naval anti-piracy exercise in the North Atlantic. The five-day exercise was held off the Brest and included a Tourville class frigate from the French navy, the UK's HMS York and USS Klaking.

Published in Navy

Ferry & Car Ferry News The ferry industry on the Irish Sea, is just like any other sector of the shipping industry, in that it is made up of a myriad of ship operators, owners, managers, charterers all contributing to providing a network of routes carried out by a variety of ships designed for different albeit similar purposes.

All this ferry activity involves conventional ferry tonnage, 'ro-pax', where the vessel's primary design is to carry more freight capacity rather than passengers. This is in some cases though, is in complete variance to the fast ferry craft where they carry many more passengers and charging a premium.

In reporting the ferry scene, we examine the constantly changing trends of this sector, as rival ferry operators are competing in an intensive environment, battling out for market share following the fallout of the economic crisis. All this has consequences some immediately felt, while at times, the effects can be drawn out over time, leading to the expense of others, through reduced competition or takeover or even face complete removal from the marketplace, as witnessed in recent years.

Arising from these challenging times, there are of course winners and losers, as exemplified in the trend to run high-speed ferry craft only during the peak-season summer months and on shorter distance routes. In addition, where fastcraft had once dominated the ferry scene, during the heady days from the mid-90's onwards, they have been replaced by recent newcomers in the form of the 'fast ferry' and with increased levels of luxury, yet seeming to form as a cost-effective alternative.

Irish Sea Ferry Routes

Irrespective of the type of vessel deployed on Irish Sea routes (between 2-9 hours), it is the ferry companies that keep the wheels of industry moving as freight vehicles literally (roll-on and roll-off) ships coupled with motoring tourists and the humble 'foot' passenger transported 363 days a year.

As such the exclusive freight-only operators provide important trading routes between Ireland and the UK, where the freight haulage customer is 'king' to generating year-round revenue to the ferry operator. However, custom built tonnage entering service in recent years has exceeded the level of capacity of the Irish Sea in certain quarters of the freight market.

A prime example of the necessity for trade in which we consumers often expect daily, though arguably question how it reached our shores, is the delivery of just in time perishable products to fill our supermarket shelves.

A visual manifestation of this is the arrival every morning and evening into our main ports, where a combination of ferries, ro-pax vessels and fast-craft all descend at the same time. In essence this a marine version to our road-based rush hour traffic going in and out along the commuter belts.

Across the Celtic Sea, the ferry scene coverage is also about those overnight direct ferry routes from Ireland connecting the north-western French ports in Brittany and Normandy.

Due to the seasonality of these routes to Europe, the ferry scene may be in the majority running between February to November, however by no means does this lessen operator competition.

Noting there have been plans over the years to run a direct Irish –Iberian ferry service, which would open up existing and develop new freight markets. Should a direct service open, it would bring new opportunities also for holidaymakers, where Spain is the most visited country in the EU visited by Irish holidaymakers ... heading for the sun!

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