Tuesday, July 10, 2018

The Black Sea Queen

If Turkey is edging out of NATO as it shifts to an Islamist-friendly autocracy that seeks an independent role within the sphere of the former Ottoman Empire, how will Turkish control of the Bosporus and Dardanelles straits effect NATO naval missions in the Black Sea?

The Montreux Convention governing warship use of the straits addresses the transit of warships through the straits, but auxiliary vessels even in the transit situation are a gray area.

Wouldn't auxiliary cruisers in the Black Sea that don't transit the straits nullify any convention restrictions on numbers, tonnage, and duration of time in the sea?

Maybe non-Black Sea states like America could use modularized auxiliary cruisers to fill the gap if Turkey becomes too unreliable as an ally or leaves/is expelled from NATO. Instead of The AFRICOM Queen, as I described, maybe The Black Sea Queen could be just as valuable in this situation.

Container ships would not have a problem as civilian ships moving through the straits in peacetime. And if the system containers were shipped overland to Romania and Bulgaria to be installed on the container ship to create a warship, we'd have an instant flotilla. Could we argue that limits on time outside powers can keep warships in the Black Sea don't apply if the warships don't enter the Black Sea through the straits?

Because the warship isn't a warship when it passes through the straits. And the weapons and systems and even crew wouldn't go through the straits at all.

But even if there are time limits that apply, wouldn't pulling whatever systems off of the modularized auxiliary cruiser erase its status as a warship and reset the clock without having to remove the ship from the Black Sea?

I had mentioned this option among others for getting around convention restrictions following the 2008 Russo-Georgian Goons of August War that Russia initiated.

And given that America does not recognize Russian occupation and annexation of Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula, options seem more important than ever.