NewsMysterious voyage: Russian corvette dodges limits, surfaces in Caspian Sea

Mysterious voyage: Russian corvette dodges limits, surfaces in Caspian Sea

Russian corvette project 22800 Karakurt - Uragan
Russian corvette project 22800 Karakurt - Uragan
Images source: ©

6:03 AM EDT, May 5, 2024

The Montreux Convention limits Russia's movement of warships through the Turkish Straits. Despite this, a Russian corvette from Project 22800 vanished from the Black Sea. Surprisingly, the ship Tucza reappeared in an entirely different body of water. How did this happen?

Until recently, the Russian missile corvette Tucza, a Karakurt-class (project 22800) ship, was docked at the port of Novorossiysk and other vessels.

Although small, these ships are heavily armed for their size. The first ones entered service in 2015, and despite significant challenges with its fleet, Russia is constructing them rapidly. Currently, 13 out of the 16 units planned have been launched, though most are not yet operational.

See also: Is it NATO equipment or Russian?

Karakurt-class corvettes displace about 800 tons and measure 67 meters (approximately 220 feet) in length, making them quite compact. They accommodate up to 70 officers and sailors, can reach speeds of up to 30 knots, and cover up to 2,500 miles. Their operational range is around 2 weeks.

Despite their compact size, karakurts boast a formidable arsenal. Alongside an AK-176 cannon with a 76mm caliber and an anti-aircraft missile system Pancyr-M, their decks accommodate two four-chamber launchers for Oniks or Kalibr missiles.

Naval ship on inland waters

Satellite imagery revealed that the Karakurt-class corvette, corvette Tucza, vanished from the port of Novorossiysk, its previous station. Though the ship did not traverse the Dardanelles—blocked in wartime scenarios by the Montreux Convention—it emerged in the Caspian Sea, an entirely different body of water.

In this instance, the Russians opted to transfer their ship through inland waters. The small size and draught of the karakurts enable them to navigate not just at sea but also along sizable rivers.

The Russians have previously utilized this approach, routinely transferring small units between their five fleets using inland waterways. Tucza's transfer from the Black Sea showcases how relocating naval ships through a network of rivers and canals, usually practiced in peacetime, is also viable under wartime conditions.

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