June 29, 2015

Fotiy Krylov (СБ-135 Фотий Крылов) - A Six Hour Tour?

Sleeve Insignia of the
Russian Pacific Fleet
I signed up for MarineTraffic.com's notification service to tell me when ships of (my) interest come and go from Port. I'd sort of forgotten I'd done so, as I hadn't received a notice from any of my alerts lately. AIS transponders on military ships get turned off when they're being stealthy; but a ship that
wears more than one hat might choose not turn off their transponder, else it would be suspicious. One such ship, that I strongly believe serves multiple roles, is the Fotiy Krylov (СБ-135 Фотий Крылов IMO:8613346 MMSI:273441150). The Fotiy Krylov is the twin of the Nikolay Chiker (СБ-131 Николай Чикер IMO:8613334 MMSI:273543910), but serves the Pacific fleet, sailing out of the home of the Russian Navy's Pacific Fleet,Vladivostok (Владивосто́к) from what roughly translates to Golden Horn Bay, or Zolotoy Rog Bay (Золотой Рог) .

You may remember that the Nikolai Chiker was zig-zagging around the east coast of the US and Caribbean last year, in tight patterns, executing what I can only presume was a search for something, or survey of something uncharted (read: DoD underwater sensors).

Fotiy Krylov (СБ-135 Фотий Крылов)
Photo Credit: Unknown | Location: Port of Limassol
Both ships have very unique capabilities; underwater cameras, specialized gear, and a moon pool allowing un-monitored underwater operations. The ships are officially ocean going tugs, but I believe they are used for much more.

The Krylov left Vladivostok, executed some very interesting maneuvers at sea, and returned to harbour back at Vladivostok... all in 6 hours. From the pattern, what do you think they were doing?  That's more than a casual shake-down or idle cruise.

It looks to me like they were steering in large sweeping patterns listening for something, found something, and returned to the military side of the port.  Whatever it was, they didn't have an exact location of it, but circled in when they found what they were looking for.

The question is, what did they retrieve?

Я бы очень хотел недавний снимок корабля Фотий Крылов в золотой рог!

From my previous post, I aggregated as much open source information as I could, and compiled the following specifications for the Fotiy Krylov (and Nikolay Chiker, its twin).  These are the largest and strongest ocean going tugs in the world.

Baklazhan (Project 5757) Class Tug

Ship Name No. IMO MSSI Fleet Launched Commissioned
Nicolay Chiker SB-131 8613334 273458540 Northern Fleet 1988-04-19 1989-04-12
Fotiy Krylov SB-135 8613346 273441150 Pacific Fleet 1988-09-09 1989-06-29

Built by Hollming Oy, Rauma, Finland
Keel Laid 1987

Standard Displacement 7417 tonnes (7299.9 (uk) t) (8175.8 t (short)) (7417000 kg)
Full Load 8128 tonnes (7999.6 (uk) t) (8959.6 t (short)) (8128000 kg)
overall: 99.0 m
overall: 19.5 m (64.0 ft)
hull: 7.1 m (23.3 ft)
top speed: 18 kt (33.3 km/h) (20.7 mph)
Standard Range 11000 n miles (20372.0 km) (12658.6 miles) at 16 kt (29.6 km/h) (18.4 mph)
Machinery: 4 Wärtsilä Vasa 12V32 diesels; 24,160 hp(m) (17.76 MW); 2 shafts; controllable-pitch propellers; bow thruster; 1,360 hp(m) (1 MW)
Firepower: None
Complement: 51 plus 20 spare berths
Radars: 2 Nyada MR-212/201 Vaygach-U (NATO: Palm Frond) navigation radars; I-band
Cost: $50M ea

"Both ships constructed by Hollming, Rauma, Finland. Laid down in 1987 and entered service with the Soviet Navy in 1989. Under ownership of Russian company Sovfracht, operated by Greek company Tsavliris during the 1990s before returning to Russian naval service in about 2006. Both tugs are probably still available for commercial use. Equipped with three water cannons." -Jane's Fighting Ships

"Built by Hollming (Rauma), Helsinki and completed 12 April 1989. A second of class A Krylov SB 135 completed 30 June 1989 but was sold illegally to Greece in March 1993 and for a short time renamed Tsavliris Giant. These are the largest salvage tugs in the world with a 250 ton bollard pull on each of two towing winches with a third 60 ton winch. The crew includes two divers and there are two decompression chambers. Four firefighting foam/water guns are fitted on the bridge/mast. Designed to operate in extreme temperatures. SB 131 is in the Northern Fleet." -Jane's Fighting Ships

"Rescue tug "Nikoli Chiker" was built in 1989 in Finland, commissioned by the Navy of the USSR. It was intended to be used primarily for towing large ships, ie, aircraft carriers, and conduct rescue operations. The construction of these two vessels, this one and the class leader the "Foty Krilov", cost the navy $ 50 million.
Immediately after construction during the tests, type "Fory Krylov" was recorded in the Guinness Book of Records as the vessel which can create the most powerful traction when towing. Power plant is 25, 000 horsepower. These characteristics, as well as design features allow it to tow vessels of up to 250 thousand tons at a rough sea at eight points at a speed of four knots. Performance still unrivaled.
Although by designation it is just a tug boat, even the most powerful in the world, this hides its other capabilities. This is a rescue complex. Installed on it is diving equipment which allows for complex deep-water work. It is equipped with a pressure chamber, dry suits, underwater cameras, the means to blur the ground, underwater welding and cutting, metal detectors. In addition to all tug capable apply for ships in distress flame retardant liquid, using their own equipment to extinguish fires. Helipad supports all-weather 24-hour operation of the helicopter with refueling. Fully equipped operating room and three wards." -Warfare.ru, Wikimapia

"The moored lifting power of these tugs is 230 tons. Each is equipped with diving equipment for depths of up to 60 meters (nearly 197 feet). The tugs are also equipped with two 8-ton capacity cranes. They are also equipped with water cannon.
Additional equipment includes a 3-ton capacity crane; two 32-ton salvage winches; two 10-ton salvage winches; two 150-ton towing winches; one 60-ton towing winch; two 400-ton cable/chain stoppers; a 250-ton bollard pull and a 441-pound transfer system for dry cargo and personnel.
HULL: These ships have a burly profile. The raked bow has a large-radius nose rimmed with a bulwark, a forecastle extending well aft, tall superstructure topped by a bridge with 360-deg visibility, paired stacks on the after corners of the superstructure and a low-freeboard stern with curved counter. The helicopter platform is forward of the bridge and can accept a medium helicopter.
The ships began service in the Soviet navy. Both were named in 1991. FOTIY KRYLOV was leased to a Greek commercial company in 1992 and renamed M/V GIANT, then renamed again as TSAVLIRIS GIANT. NICOLAY CHIKER also was leased to a Greek company. In 1995, both were returned for further service in the Russian navy." -MilitaryPeriscope.com

Lloyd's Register - Fairplay's Internet Ships Register
Jane's Fighting Ships

Last recorded position: