Russian Naval Task Force surprises Cape Town
The Russian Federation Navy’s Northern Fleet detachment, including the Severomorsk large anti-submarine destroyer, paid a surprise visit to the Port of Cape Town. The Severomorsk, an Udaloy I (Project1155) class ASW Destroyer, together with the Altay (Ingul, Project 1453, class rescue tug) and Dubna replenishment tanker arrived in Cape Town for a port visit on Monday, March 20. The Severomorsk was attached to the Russian naval group which took part in counter-terrorism operations in Syria, leaving her home base at Severomorsk on the coast of the Barents Sea on November 16, 2016 She provided security for the Northern Fleet grouping headed by the Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier during combat operations near the Syrian coast in December 2016/January 2017. The anti-submarine destroyer and her two escorts thereafter participated in the international AMAN-2017 sea drills in the Arabian Sea in mid-February. That four-day exercise, with 37 countries taking part, was the fifth such exercise Pakistan has hosted since 2007. The press service of the Russian Northern fleet noted that during the exercise, the Severomosrk crew interacted with colleagues from Pakistan, China, the United States, the United Kingdom, Turkey and several other countries to enhance efforts on combating piracy and protecting international trade routes..
Following AMAN-2017, the three-vessel detachment crossed the equator and docked at the port of Victoria in the Seychelles to replenish stores in the first week of March. While the Russian Federation Navy would not comment on the port visit, a Russian Ministry of Defence communiqué noted the Severomorsk has been performing assigned tasks in the further ocean zone under the command of Captain I Rank Stanislav Varik. In Cape Town the crews laid a wreath at the graves of 17 Russian sailors at the Simon’s Town cemetery, who died more than 100 years ago. The navy and merchant sailors died on separate occasions during the 19th century while their vessels were docked in Simon’s Town. The Severomorsk (Project 619) is a vessel of the original Udaloy I-class and was launched on December 24, 1985. Formally commissioned on December 30, 1987, she has served the Soviet / Russian Northern Fleet ever since. Classified as an Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) destroyer, the vessel is bristling with weapons and retains an inherent Anti-Ship (AS) capability. Her primary armaments are eight SS-N-14 "Silex" anti-submarine/anti-ship missile launchers and 64 SA-N-9 "Gauntlet" surface-to-air missiles in Vertical Launching Systems (VLSs). Other armament includes two 100mm /70 calibre Dual-Purpose guns, four 30mm AK-630 Close-In Weapon Systems (CIWSs) and eight 553mm torpedo tubes (firing either torpedoes or SS-N-15 missiles). Also docked in the Port of Cape Town is the Russian oceanographic research vessel Akademik Alexander Karpinksy. The Severomorsk and her support vessels are due to depart Cape Town on Thursday, March 23 for their return home.