Photo: Black Sea Fleet Information Support Group
Black Sea Fleet (BSF) frigate Smetlivy has completed formal visit to Italian port Augusta after participation in the IONIEX 2011 Russian-Italian joint exercise. During the visit, BSF servicemen held protocol meetings with local authorities and representatives of Sicily autonomous naval command.
Prior to call at Augusta, a summary briefing of IONIEX 2011 exercise was held on board Italian frigate Avieri anchored in Gallipoli Harbor. The parties concluded that Russian and Italian servicemen had effectively practiced repelling of asymmetric threats and conducted joint tactical maneuvering drills. High emphasis was put on organization of search operations with the view to prevent illegal trafficking of arms, munitions, contraband, and drugs. Ships of both countries carried out gun firings, searched and attacked "enemy" submarine, practiced interaction while rescuing a "distressed" vessel.
Italian partners highly appreciated qualification level of Russian crew. Frigate Division Commander Capt Antonio Bellini expressed hope that another IONIEX exercise would be more eventful; he added that friendly ties and confidence between Russian and Italian mariners strengthen from year to year.
Having replenished supplies, frigate Smetlivy set a course for Black Sea straits. The ship is expected to return to Sevastopol on Nov 19.