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Türkiye refuses entry to 2 British Sandown class minehunters for Ukraine in Black Sea.

| Naval News Navy 2024

According to information published by the Turkish government on January 2, 2023, the country has declined the passage of two Sandown-class minehunters, donated by the United Kingdom to Ukraine, through the Turkish Straits.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 Ex British Sandown classe minehunter HMS Grimsby. (Picture source: UK MoD)

This decision aligns with Turkiye's strict adherence to the Montreux Convention Regarding the Regime of the Straits, particularly in light of the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

The Montreux Convention, established in 1936, governs the movement of naval warships through the Dardanelles and Bosphorus straits, which connect the Mediterranean Sea to the Black Sea.

Article 19 of the Convention explicitly restricts passage of warships belonging to countries engaged in armed conflict. Since Russia's military operation against Ukraine, Turkiye has classified the situation as a "war," thereby invoking this provision to prohibit warships from both belligerent parties from entering the Black Sea via the Straits.

The Sandown-class minehunters, a series of small, single-role vessels, are primarily designed for mine clearance operations. They are notable for their glass-reinforced plastic hulls, which significantly reduce their magnetic signature, an essential feature for mine-sweeping activities. These ships are equipped with advanced sonar and mine-disposal systems, making them highly capable in detecting and neutralizing sea mines.

These minehunters have a displacement of 600 tons, a length of 52.5 meters, a beam of 10.9 meters, and a draught of 2.3 meters. Their propulsion system includes Paxman Valenta 6RP200E diesels with a power output of 1,523 shp (1,136 kW), diesel-electric drive, Combimac electric motors of 100kW, Voith Schneider Propellers, and Schottel bow thrusters. They can reach a top speed of 13 knots and accommodate a crew of 34, with the capacity for up to 40 personnel.

For navigation and processing, these vessels are equipped with Radar Type 1007 I-Band/Kelvin Hughes Ltd SharpEye and Sonar Type 2093. Their armament includes a DS30B Mk 1 30 mm gun, Miniguns, Browning .50 caliber heavy machine guns (as of 2023), and General-purpose machine guns.

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