The first naval vessel to host a diplomatic visit after the chaos of the Pandemic Disease COVID-19 was the Turkish Navy Gabya Class Frigate TCG GEMLIK F 492 which entered Grand Harbour on Tuesday 21st July, 2020.
Originally a US Navy Oliver Hazard Perry Class Guided Missile Frigate USS FLATLEY FFG 21, she was the thirteenth ship of her class. Part of the FY77 program she was ordered on 28th February 1977. Her keel was laid down on 13th November 1979, launched on 15th May 1980, and commissioned on 20th June 1981. Decommissioned on 11th May 1996, she was sold to Turkey on 27th August 1998.
Immediately the frigate underwent a major modernization program which included the retrofitting of a Turkish digital combat management system named GENESIS (Gemi Entegre Savaş İdare Sistemi). The system was designed and implemented jointly by the Turkish Navy and Havelsan, a Turkish electronic hardware systems and software company and named TCG GEMLIK F 492.
Maiden call at Malta, she was berthed at Pinto 1 and 2 wharves starboard side alongside ( Valletta Cruise Port).
She was in various NATO deployments and exercises and back in 2015 she escorted the attacked 1997 built Turkish owned general cargo vessel TUNA 1 while the ship was off Derna, Libya at the time under ISIS control – http://www.radikal.com.tr/dunya/saldiriya-ugrayan-geminin-kaptani-yasananlari-anlatti-1354496/
She left on Friday 24th July morning with the same tugs of entry – LIENI and SEA SALVOR and was escorted by the Armed Forces of Malta (AFM) Austal Class P 21
Watermarked Photos are by Capt. Lawrence Dalli. Do not use these images without my permission. © All rights reserved. Malta Ship Photos & Action Photos – www.maltashipphotos.com
Published – Sunday 26th July, 2020