Blackseafor completes sea drills

The international Black Sea Naval Force (Blackseafor) completed the first phase of its exercise, that started on April 9, when warships from the six nations participating in it left the Bulgarian port of Varna, Russian Black Sea Fleet spokesman Capt. 1st Rank Vyacheslav Trukhachev said. 

Bulgaria’s Reshitelni corvette, Georgia’s Sukhumi coastal patrol boat, Russia’s Ropucha-I class Novocherkassk large landing ship, Romania’s Macelariu corvette, Turkey’s Heybeliada corvette and Ukraine’s Cherkassy minesweeper took part in this exercise. 

After the active part of the exercise, the warships will call at the Romanian port of Constanta on April 12 as part of the second stage of Blackseafor’s 12th activation, running from April 5 to April 23.

The sea exercises include joint defense drills, the boarding of suspicious civilian ships to prevent human trafficking or the smuggling of arms and dangerous substances, as well as rescue operations at sea and helping ships in distress.

Blackseafor was established in 2001 on Turkey's initiative and comprises Turkey, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Romania, Georgia and Russia.

It is an on-call force and currently has no permanent headquarters. The Blackseafor is activated twice a year and the command structure is based on a rotation principle. Each littoral member state assumes leadership for a one-year period.

According to its charter, the purpose of Blackseafor is to promote security and stability in the Black Sea maritime area and beyond, to strengthen friendship and good relations among the regional states and increase interoperability among those states' naval forces.

Adapted from Vestnik Kavkaza