Tag Archives: Black Sea

Crimea: EU stands for Ukraine territorial integrity

“Continued efforts by the Russian Federation to undermine Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, with further attempts to forcibly integrate the illegally-annexed Crimea and Sevastopol into Russia, represent a violation of international law” reads the statement by the European External Actions Service (EEAS) spokesperson on recent developments in the Crimean peninsula.

“The recent keel-laying ceremony of two assault ships in Kerch is yet another clear step in the ongoing militarisation of the peninsula, with a considerable negative impact on regional security in the Black Sea.

“Another concern is the latest restrictions of the freedom of movement for Ukrainian citizens to and from the Crimean peninsula. Access to mainland Ukraine and the right to return to the place of residence has to be granted unconditionally and should not require a Russian passport.

“The European Union continues to expect Russia to stop all violations of international law in the Crimean peninsula. The European Union is unwavering in its support for Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders”.

Two latest universal amphibious assault ships were laid down for the first time at the Zaliv Shipyard in Kerch, Crimea, on July 20.
The ceremony was attended by Russian President Vladimir Putin who attached the keel-laying plaque to the Project’s first ship.

“Today three leading Russian shipyards are simultaneously laying down six new ocean-going ships. Here, in Kerch, these are two universal amphibious assault ships. At the Severnaya Shipyard in St. Petersburg, these are two frigates and at the Sevmash Shipyard in Severodvinsk, these are two nuclear-powered underwater cruisers,” the President said.

Russian drills in Black sea

An active phase of tactical drills of the Black Sea Fleet aviation with fighters, bombers and helicopters has begun on March 18 in Crimea. In the course of the drills, pilots trained to withdraw forces during a potential attack, conducted a search for submarines, launched unguided missiles and dropped bombs, the fleet’s press service informed. (Image: illustration).

The drills consist of two stages. “During the first stage of the drills, plane and helicopter crews practised withdrawing forces in case of a hypothetical enemy attack and redeploying aviation to backup airfields,” the message reads.

During the second stage, pilots of Su-24M and Su-30SM launched unguided missiles and dropped bombs on land and sea targets. Crews of anti-submarine aircraft and helicopters conducted a search for a hypothetical enemy submarine. Pilots of military transport aviation practised transporting and landing cargo.

In total, the drills include about 20 aviation units of the Black Fleet.

#QueenHind shipwreck “Commission failure”

‘Two days after a tragedy where over 14,000 sheep perished during transport by sea, the outgoing Commission sent us an insensitive response to a complaint regarding an Irish livestock vessel’ reads the statement of the Compassion in World Farming organisation.

This is clear evidence that the outgoing Commission failed in its duty of care for animal welfare; that the Commission tore up its own words about animal welfare being a ‘priority’. The time for duplicity is over. The new Commission needs to deliver on the aspirations of EU citizens and put an end to the cruel and senseless long-distance trade in live animals for slaughter or fattening” Philip Lymbery, CEO of Compassion in World Farming said.

‘At the time of the complaint which we made in August this year, the Irish livestock vessel, the Express 1,did not have a valid certificate of approval – this is legally required by Article 7.2 of Council Regulation 1/2005. In addition, the average mortality rates were much higher than usual, with 23 animals dying on the three journeys. The letter of complaint included details stating that the Express 1 had been used as a livestock vessel three times between 7 March and 9 May 2019 – whilst it had an expired certificate of approval. The animals on board were being transported from Ireland to Turkey.

Despite this clear breach of legislation, the letter of response from the outgoing Commission that Compassion received stated: “the allegations as presented in your complaint do not appear to show indications of a general practice, a problem of compliance of national legislation with EU law or a systemic failure of the Irish authorities to correctly comply with provisions of the EU legislation in relation to the implementation of the protection of animals during transport.” 

“The letter from the outgoing Commission is extraordinary in its crass insensitivity – it comes just two days after thousands of sheep died in a disaster at sea and appears to imply that using a livestock vessel without a certificate of approval is not a matter of any real importance” said Peter Stevenson, Compassion’s Chief Policy Advisor.

 ‘The disaster at sea referred to is the incident in which over 14,000 sheep died on 24 November, when the Queen Hind overturned after leaving the port of Midia, off the coast of Romania. Despite the best efforts of rescuers on site, it has been reported that only 32 sheep were saved.”

 

Russia Black Sea drills

Russia‘s airborne early warning and control A-50 aircraft, S-400 missile systems, as well as the Bal and Bastion coastal defense missile systems are taking part in the Black Sea drills held amid NATO‘s Sea Shield 2019 drills, the Russian Defense Ministry’s informs statement published on its official website

To ensure the fulfillment of training and combat missions of aviation and the forces of the fleet of the Southern Military District, airborne early warning and control A-50 jets have been in the Black Sea area. They were on a mission over the Black Sea waters for more than 5 hours and targeted Su-27SM and Su-30 jets to supersonic and stratospheric targets more than 20 times,” the Defense Ministry pointed out.

According to the ministry’s data, the Black Sea drills feature more than 50 planes and helicopters, as well as the S-400 Triumf missile system the Bal and Bastion coastal defense missile systems battalions.

Batumi port enlargement under fire

Sajjad Karim MEP (UK, ECR),  the Chair of the European Parliament’s Delegation for Relations with the South Caucasus,  welcomed the development of the Batumi port,  underlining  Georgia strategic situation on the East-West transportation route.

The country has the potential to become an important transportation hub, which would in turn boost its economic growth, including in the Adjaria region“, Karim said.

The impressive economic development of Adjaria is in contrast with the economic stagnation of Georgia’s occupied regions, in particular, Abkhazia, which could have experienced a similar economic development, had it not been invaded and occupied”, MEP continued.

In spite of the overall positive assessment of Batumi  boom in the building sector, contributing to the economy, the Chair of the Delegation has expressed his concerns about  “many accidents – sometimes deadly” which  have happened to construction workers during this period.

“I call on the Georgian authorities to ensure that labour law and safety standards are duly implemented” Sajjad Karim concluded.

The concerns over labor safety are not the only issue, raised by Members of the European Parliament, while evaluating the perspective of the Batumi port enlargement.

The prominent French ecologist, the founder of the independent Commission on Chernobyl disaster Michèle Rivasi MEP (The Greens) considers imperative the launch of an independent research of the impact of the Batumi port enlargement on the environment, and health, but also confirm that the project is profitable.

“It is absolutely necessary that there are consultations with the citizens, and there is an independent research, and upon all these elements the citizens will decide, but it is not up to the gas lobby to decide in the place of the citizens“, – Rivasi explained her vision of the future of the project.

The Batumi port enlargement became a subject to polemics after Azerbaijan and Georgia signed a contract on the construction of a terminal for mineral fertilizers (carbamide) on January 14.  The inhabitants of the area, ecologists, and a member of the Georgian March movement Valerian Meburishvili have been protesting against the construction of the terminal, presuming the project is designed to transport dangerous for people and environment toxic substances, potentially damaging human health, and sea life.

Trammo group (USA) formerly known as Transammonia, Inc. intends to invest $20 million in the construction of the terminal. Transammonia is the world’s largest private company in fertilizer trading.

 

 

 

Homer times shipwreck discovery

Probably the oldest shipwreck in the world ever found by man it is lying on the seabed of the Black Sea for 2400 years, practically intact off Bulgarian coast.

A 23 meters long vessel, used for trade and originally from classical Greece has been discovered by a team of archaeologists led by the British Joe Adams in the framework of a fascinating submarine research program called Black Sea Maritime Archeology Project.

The shipwreck is located at about 2000 meters below sea level – and for the time being intended to remain there -, is complete with tree, rudder and posts for the rowers. And its exceptional state of conservation is due to the conditions of lack of oxygen at that depth, as well as to the particular habitat of a closed and prehistoric basin such as the Black Sea.

A surviving shipwreck intact from the classical era, at 2 km of depth, it’s something I never thought possible to see,” Professor Adams told. “This is a discovery that will change our knowledge and our compression of shipbuilding and maritime activities in the ancient world“, he added.

A carbon 14 test was also carried out by researchers from the UK University of Southampton who were able to analyze small pieces of the wreck delivered to the surface. And this examination also confirmed the estimated age of about 2400 years.

The shipwreck is believed to represent the vessel of Ulysses at the time of the meeting with the Sirens narrated poetically by Homer in the Odyssey. However, Adams has confirmed that his ‘ship of Ulysses‘ will not see the light for now.

The team said their findings varied in age from a “17th-century Cossack raiding fleet, through Roman trading vessels, complete with amphorae, to a complete ship from the classical period”.

NATO counters Russia in Black sea

NATO launched a new multinational force in Romania this week to counter Russia along its eastern flank and to check a growing Russian presence in the Black Sea related to the Crimea, being not recognised by the West as part of Russian Federation.

The force will initially be built around a Romanian brigade of up to 4,000 soldiers, supported by troops from nine other NATO countries, and complementing a separate deployment of 900 U.S. troops who are already in place. The plans are to include additional air and sea assets to give the force greater capabilities.

“We are sending a very clear message: NATO is here, NATO is strong and NATO is united,” Stoltenberg told assembled Polish, Romanian, Spanish and Portuguese soldiers.

Russia accuses NATO of trying to encircle it and threatening stability in Eastern Europe, which NATO denies. Around the Black Sea, Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey are NATO members while Georgia and Ukraine aspire to join.

Two Russian submarines in Mediterranean

Two Russian submarines on the way from the Baltic Fleet to the Black Sea have entered the Mediterranean, Black Sea Fleet spokesman Vyacheslav Trukhachyov said on Monday, August, 28.

“Two diesel submarines – The Kolpino and the Veliki Novgorod – on the way from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea Fleet have entered the Mediterranean,” he said. (Image of Veliki Novgorod below)

The Kolpino and The Veliki Novgorod are the fifth and sixth in a series of six submarines of project 636.3 built at the Admiralty Shipyards for the Black Sea Fleet.

Another project 636.6 submarine – the Krasnodar – was redeployed from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea earlier. It performed a number of tasks as part of the Russian Navy’s group in the Mediterranean. On June 23, as the Defense Ministry said, it launched Kalibr cruise missiles against facilities of the Islamic State (outlawed in Russia) in Syria. (See below image of Kolpino submarine).

 

Dead dolphins at Russian Black sea resort

In Anapa, Russia, on the beach in the area of ‘​​40 year of Victory,’ street tourists discovered several corpses of dolphins. According to local residents dead animals have been on the beach for a few days. This week after numerous complaints, local authorities announced that the corpses of dolphins were removed  from the beach.

According to the portal “Notepad”, the residents of the Black sea resort were outraged by the attitude of local services, which, in their opinion, are not engaged in cleaning the shore from corpses of sea animals.

One of the residents of Anapa has been indignant of the impact of the scenery of discovering dolphin corpses floated by the shore, judging by their appearance, they have been decomposing already for some time. A mother has been worried that such a picture has been disturbing for young children:

“We were sitting at Black sea in Anapa, watching  floating dead dolphins, it’s clear that it’s not the first day the corpses are there. It’s not normal that children walk along the shore and get a psychological trauma seeing all this!”

The administration of our district doesn’t take measures ” , – she added, mentioning that she asked the local services to remove corpses from the beach. The woman was told that they would “take action”. However, four hours later no one came to the scene.

The problem of massive death of dolphins next to Anapa  occurred the beginning of May (tweet below), when 68 spices were found dead ashore. The ecologists blame industrialisation of the sea as the major factor causing massive death of the dolphins.

US jet intercepted over Black Sea

Russia’s Defense Ministry confirmed (12.05.2017) that a US surveillance aircraft P-8A Poseidon was intercepted by a Russian Su-30 fighter jet over the Black Sea on May 9.

At noon on May 9, Russia’s airspace control means detected an air target over the neutral waters of the Black Sea, which was approaching the state border of Russia. “The Su-30 fighter jet of the air defense forces on duty in the Southern military district was scrambled to intercept the target,” the ministry said.

The Russian pilot identified the target as a US surveillance aircraft P-8A Poseidon. “The Russian fighter jet performed a maneuver of ‘greeting’ for the US pilots and after that the US surveillance plane changed the flight route towards moving from the border with Russia. The Su-30 fighter jet safely returned to its base airfield,” the ministry said.

The US aircraft “was conducting routine operations in international airspace,” according to Captain Pamela Kunze, a spokeswoman for US Naval Forces Europe. The interaction was considered safe and professional by the US aircraft’s commander, she said.