Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Is Mediterranean Sea Dangerous for Russian Navy Destroyers?

The Russian Navy Northern Fleet's Udaloy-class destroyer "Vitse-Admiral Kulakov" is currently undergoing repairs in Sevastopol following a collision with an unknown tanker in the Mediterranean Sea last month, according to internet chatter. This follows two other incidents with Udaloy destroyers having to enter the Black Sea for repairs during their Mediterranean Sea deployments. In May-June 2013, the Northern Fleet's Udaloy-class destroyer "Admiral Levchenko" underwent repairs, to include work on its bow-mounted sonar. And between June and September 2013, the Pacific Fleet's Udaloy-class destroyer "Admiral Panteleyev" underwent some type of repairs in Novorossiysk. It is noteworthy that no other major combatant from the Mediterranean Task Force has had to enter the Black Sea for repairs.

Naval officials' claims that these were "routine" repairs are dishonest. Ships already complete lengthy shipyard periods before departing on lengthy deployments. Therefore, there should be nothing "routine" about theses destroyers having to break from the task group and head for Sevastopol or Novorossiysk.

The impact? The Black Sea Fleet's Slava-class cruiser "Moskva" now has to spend "more than two months" in the Mediterranean Sea, according to an unnamed Navy Main Staff source. According to one internet source, the cruiser will depart on 2 or 3 September for a deployment that will last "2-3 months at a minimum."