Archive for the 'Russian Navy' Tag

Just when you thought that the ARCTIC SEA piracy story couldn’t get any weirder, comes news via Fairplay of an arrest warrent being issued in the case, for the former head of Estonian Intelligence:

The decision to put out an international warrant over the hijacking of the timber carrier Arctic Sea in August 2009 stemmed from Erik Niyles Kross’s refusal to answer a Russian summons for questioning in December.

Kross, former head of Estonian intelligence, has been charged with planning and directing the month-long pirate takeover.

Arctic Sea had been under way off Sweden’s Baltic coast when nine Russian and Latvian men took the vessel. They were convicted of piracy in Moscow and Arkhangelsk and given stiff prison terms – after reportedly naming Kross as the mastermind.

Estonia’s government has said that Russian prosecutors are welcome to interrogate Kross in Talinn. The 4,706dwt ship later found and taken back by the Russian Navy off Cape Verde. – Fairplay

Just why would the former head of Estonian Intelligence want to hijack a ship full of timber? Maybe he’s crazy? Given his involvement, maybe there is something to the rumors that the ship was carrying something much more interesting than just timber. I can understand Mr. Kross’s refusal to travel to Russia for questioning. However, he can’t be feeling much safer sitting in nearby Estonia. I suspect the level of danger he is in depends on what he knows and how embarrassing it is to the Russian Government.

One question I would like answered is just where the ‘hijackers’ were planning to take the ship. They did not appear to be taking the vessel anyplace when the Russians arrived. Apparently, thanks to Russian threats, the crew is still not talking.

Surely this is not the final chapter.

Russia is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.
– Winston Churchill

That is one of the things that makes Russia a great topic.

Join fellow USNI Blogg’r EagleOne and me, Sunday 13 FEB from 5-6pm EST as we discuss Russia for the full hour with our guest, Dr. Dmitry Gorenburg, Senior Analyst at CNA, an Associate at Harvard’s Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, and author of the book Minority Ethnic Mobilization in the Russian Federation

If an hour isn’t enough, you can follow his lastest thoughts on Russian Military Reform at his blog or review his list of publications here – but make sure and block out time to join us live as we cover where Russia stands in the 21st Century and how its domestic politics, demographics, the rise of China, and the evolution of its relationships with its near abroad will challenge this important nation.

If you can join us live, pile in with the usual suspects in the chat room during the show where you can offer your own questions and observations to our guests. If you miss the show or want to catch up on the shows you missed – you can always reach the archives at blogtalkradio – or set yourself to get the podcast on iTunes.

The Russian Navy Blog recently translated and posted a Russian after-action report. The most interesting aspect of this report is that it spells out the differences between the way the Frence and Russians operate their vessels at sea with particular emphasis on quality (or lack) of life issues. These differences might be well known to many of you, but it is nice to see what the Russians themselves think.

Part I

I ran across an interesting document, an after action report detailing “living conditions on board ships of the Russian Navy, observations by officers in the French Navy during joint Russian-French exercises and a port visit to Brest, France by ships of the Northern Fleet” dated 28 October 2004. There are a lot of interesting observations here, which can be summarized thusly:

They have hot water! Sh–, the French have water at all! The watch actually stands watch! Goddamn, we’re dirty! Paint mixed with sand on the decks so people don’t slip and break their necks? Mon dieu! Musters! Do we really need so many musters? And maybe our ships wouldn’t be so dirty if we gave our guys stuff to clean with. Or if we let them shower more than once every two weeks!

Well, not quite, but pretty close.

——- Read the rest of this entry »

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Welcome to our very first Across the Water post of the Naval Institute Blog!

As Editor of the Naval Institute Guide to Combat Fleets of the World, I specialize in international navies. Thus starting today, and hopefully once a week from here on out, I’ll be posting a couple of international naval news items that I (and hopefully you) find interesting and noteworthy. The purpose of these posts is to inform, discuss and most importantly, whet your appetite to get the discussions started.

Not just newsIn this section of the blog, we’ll also try and maintain focus on maritime photography, so each week I’ll select, highlight and link to one photo from the U.S. Navy’s foreign photo gallery. The great thing about this gallery is that the photos are all considered, “public information and may be distributed or copied unless otherwise specified.” So feel free to click, save and use lawfully.

Have fun and be sure to write in. Thanks for reading and contributing!

From the United Kingdom:  Royal Navy Admiral to lead EU anti piracy mission”

 An interesting article describing the European Union’s “Operation ATALANTA,” a major EU effort to counter piracy off the coast of Somalia. Let’s hope it helps …

And from Russia this week: “Russian naval task force heads for Indian Ocean”

You can expect to see lots of Russian naval news here during the coming months. As Russia seeks to regain its global sea legs, the news should prove quite interesting.

 And finally, this week’s International Navy photo is …The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force submarine JS Mochishio (SS 600) underway in the Pacific Ocean at the culmination of ANNUALEX 2008. Taken last month by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Brendan Morgan.