Intelligence ship Fyodor Golovin (AGI) of the Russian Baltic Fleet has been relieved off Syria and is now returning to the Baltic Sea. That reported Russian military news site flot.com on Tuesday. Fyodor Golovin was replaced on duty by the intelligence ship Ekvator of the Black Sea Fleet.
Russia has had a shortage of intelligence ships in the Mediterranean since last April when the intelligence ship Liman sank after a collision with a merchant ship1. Therefore the Baltic Fleet has chipped in on the duty off Syria.
Apparently Fyodor Golovin has already left the Mediterranean and is now in the Atlantic. It must be expected to arrive to the Baltic Sea within some weeks. The ship does not use AIS, so it is not possible to track the progress directly. However, we can usually count on the British press to give a heads up when there is a passage of the English Channel.
Another AGI, the newly built Ivan Khurs, will soon make the trip the other way. It is currently undergoing sea trials in the Baltic Sea but is expected to join the Black Sea Fleet sometime during the spring where, according to Nezavisimaya Gazeta, it will take the place of the sunken Liman.
In related news, the Russian Ministry of Defense published information that the Baltic Fleet is preparing for an exercise where more than 20 ships of different sizes and a number of aircraft will take part. So there will be something to monitor for the other fleets in the Baltic region in the time to come.
- Liman was hit while at anchor in thick fog without transmitting on AIS. Navies need to get their act together here. I wrote a piece back in September explaining why turning off AIS is a terrible idea, and the points apply equally well to the Russian and the U.S. Navies. ↩
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