May 28, 2023

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TULCEA: Military exercise with live ammunition, on the arm of Sfântu Gheorghe

The Danube Protector exercise, which includes firing with live ammunition at the Danube’s discharge into the Black Sea, on the Sfântu Gheorghe arm, took place in safe conditions, despite the intense ship traffic, the commander of the Mihail Kogălniceanu River Flotilla, commander Marcel Neculae, said on Tuesday , at the end of a sequence within the exercise.

He recalled that the Danube Delta is a difficult area to defend, but river ships and the marine infantry subunit have the ability to protect this territory.

“Traffic is intense. We are talking about the still sufficiently active period from the point of view of grain transit from Ukraine to the Turkish straits and beyond. Most of the ships, despite the fact that through the specialized institutions of the Naval Forces, they were notified that this district is prohibited for navigation, there are some that sail at the border of the district and, as a result, in order to maintain the activities with the maximum degree of safety, we are forced to intervene to redirect them to the offshore districts, not to endanger navigation. During today’s exercise (Tuesday, editor’s note), 15 ships transited the coastal area where we organized the maritime district for the execution of firings”, said Commander Marcel Neculae.

The Commander of the River Flotilla Mihail Kogălniceanu recalled that in the last eight months the presence of the Naval Forces at the mouths of the Danube is constant.

“Since February 24, when Russia, unprovoked, invaded Ukraine, weekly, at the mouths of the Danube, especially in the area of ​​maximum traffic, I am talking here about the Sulina canal, which took over 80% of the traffic of grain from the Ukrainian and Romanian river ports, a strong capability respectively through an operational cycle a monitor and an armored star permanently ensure the safety of navigation on the Sulina canal, as well as the peace of citizens from the sea and the river at the mouth of the Danube”mentioned Commander Neculae.

He also said that the Danube Delta is a “very difficult to defend” area.

“It is a very difficult area to defend, considering the lack of land communications, the very varied forms of relief, we are talking about wooded, marshy areas, a very rich network of canals and inland waters, they make it very difficult to maneuver forces and means in this area of responsibility, the fluvial combat ships with marine infantry subunits being the only capability dedicated to this type of missions, having the mobility given by the ships and boats of the Marine Infantry, able to deploy in a very short time from one district to another and execute a fire mission on hostile elements penetrating the defense device”, said Flotilla commander Mihail Kogălniceanu.

According to a press release of the General Staff of the Naval Forces (SMFN), over 300 soldiers from the River Flotilla are participating, between October 16 and 21, in the “Danube Protector” exercise of the river naval forces, held on the Sfântu Gheorghe arm and at the mouths Danube.

The military has at its disposal two monitor ships and two armored starships of the 67th Artillery Carrier Division “Commander Virgil Alexandru Dragalina”, four river ships of the 88th Division River Ships “Amiral Gheorghe Sandu”, a river tug, a fast river sloop, a command ship belonging to the 325 Logistic Tulcea Group, seven fast assault boats of the 307 Marine Infantry Regiment “Heracleea”, the sea tug of intervention with “Grozavul” divers, with a detachment of EOD divers on board and a detachment of river divers.

“The naval exercise with troops in the field is based on a fictitious scenario, which is adapted to the current security environment, in accordance with the national legislation in the field of defense and security. The objective pursued is to raise the training level of ship crews for the joint execution of a sequence of a defense operation carried out on the territory of Romania”, it is also mentioned in the SMFN press release.

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