"Varyag" in the Bosphorus
And east again
The destination was originally indicated by Macau, and then the port of Dalian, located on the Liaodong Peninsula, began to appear instead. Once it belonged to the Russian Empire and was called the port of Dalniy. As a result of the unsuccessful results of the Russo-Japanese War, Dalniy, together with the fortress and the naval base Port Arthur, withdrew to Japan. After the end of World War II, the Liaodong Peninsula returned to the former owner in the person of the USSR and remained under its control until the middle of the 50s, when this territory was returned to the People's Republic of China.
The conclusion itself of an unfinished, deprived aircraft cruiser with a length of more than 300 meters from the plant’s water area, followed by wiring along the winding fairway of the Bug-Dnepr-Limansky canal was a very difficult operation. When the question of towing "Varyag" to the Far East was finally resolved, the appropriate preparation for this action began. The situation was under the control of the Ministry of Transport of Ukraine and the State Space Inspection of Ukraine.
To ensure the wiring of the towing caravan experienced pilots were involved. The course of towing, its variants and details were repeatedly honed on simulators of the Odessa Maritime Academy. Of course, ships of large displacement and size and previously passed this route. However, in the case of the “Varyag”, it was a towing of a hulk deprived of its course, on which there was no crew.
For the movement of the ship on the Bug-Dnieper-Liman channel, it was planned to use three tugs. The total length of the caravan, taking into account the towing ropes, was about 400 meters. Posting "Varyag" was preceded by a whole range of preparatory measures. Dredging works were carried out - the volume of soil extracted from the bottom during the entire preparatory period reached 4,5 mln. Tons. A whole system of temporally installed buoys and milestones in the fairway was developed. They were supposed to set immediately before the start of towing. Before the caravan had to go a dedicated boat hydrographic services, which would carry out regular measurements of the depths.
11 June 2000, the buoys were delivered. On June 12, it was announced that the Bug-Dnieper-Limansky canal was announced to be temporarily closed due to the future towing of the unfinished Varyag aircraft cruiser, which is scheduled for June 14.
The main fiddle in the upcoming operation was to be played by the ocean tug Suhaili, which had arrived in advance at the Black Sea plant. The vessel had a displacement of almost 1 ths. Tons and was equipped with two diesel engines with a total power of 9 ths. Hp. Built in 1977, Suhaili had a certified tow bar in 102 tons. The tug was assigned to Panama, the majority of its crew consisted of Filipinos. The captain of “Suhaili”, seeing the winding channel of the Bug-Dnieper-Limansky canal, at first expressed serious doubts about the possibility of posting on it such a large object as “Varyag”. Only a long and detailed instruction of experienced pilots could somewhat dispel his skepticism.
The day of operation was approaching. By the evening of June 13, 2000, all shipping traffic along the Bug-Dnieper-Liman Canal was stopped. In the area of two o'clock in the morning on June 14, towing cables began to be launched on the Varyag. The process of unmooring from the construction wall of the Black Sea Plant turned out to be laborious - only three hours later the heavy aircraft-carrying cruiser, and now just a “towing object”, broke away from the place where it was joyfully set in back in November 1988 after launching. The place in which he stood for nearly a long 12 years. There was no longer the country by whose will he appeared. Many of those officials and military officials whose signatures have verified the orders and instructions for this ship have already lost their seats, offices and posts. All this time, the "Varangian" stood in a silent steel block, an unfulfilled plan, an unfinished business, an unfinished sword that had sunk into the past fleet Union.
Not without difficulty, with the help of factory tugs, they pulled out the ship's hull and deployed along the fairway. Now the main violin of the caravan is “Suhaili”, which was assisted by tugs “Tigris” and “Basalt”. They were assisted by their colleagues from the Chernomorsky Plant “Ukrainian” and “Docker”.
Posting "Varyag" Bug-Dnieper-Limansky channel
Early in the morning of 14 June 2000, the cruiser Varyag began its march to the East. No one then imagined how long it would be. On board the huge ship was only a small factory team of 10 people, headed by the Deputy Director of the Black Sea Plant Ivan I. Vinnik.
During the difficult forcing of the Bug-Dnieper-Limansky canal, the speed of the caravan was no more than 4 nodes. Most of the problems were created by sudden gusts of wind which are not uncommon in these waters - because of the high side and large superstructure, the island “Varyag” had a large sail area. On the passage of the channel was spent 12 hours. After the caravan left behind the Kinburn Spit, it was disbanded. The tugs under the Ukrainian flag, after removing the factory mooring team, turned back. Only the Suhaili remained with the cruiser, which began towing the Varyag to the Bosphorus.
Turkish Straits and Barriers
Initially, nothing foreshadowed any particular difficulties in passing this geographical point, however, on the approach to the Turkish coast, they arose for the caravan, like a sudden ocean squall. The fact is that Istanbul categorically rejected any possibility of passing the towed "Varyag" through the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles. The motivation of the Turkish side was unclear, since a preliminary agreement on the passage of the caravan was reached in advance. The ships were forced to anchor while the Bulldogs kneaded their jaws under a political rug to mate with each other again.
Even the Chinese representative, who was under the caravan, did not manage to get a clear answer from the owners of the straits. With high probability, it can be assumed that a certain force applied its obstinate hand to the stubbornness of the Turks, carrying freedom and democracy with the help of aircraft-carrier strike groups. The passage of Admiral Kuznetsov in the autumn of 1991 was made freely, not only because of the sudden decision to urgently transfer the cruiser to the North, but also from the growing euphoria from the collapse of the dangerous enemy in the person of the USSR.
It is obvious that the passage of the "Varyag" prepared in advance. Perhaps, analysts of the relevant US structures were well aware of what a floating entertainment center could wonderfully transform into. It is possible that the desire of the Americans to slow down an unfinished cruiser, which had every chance of becoming an unfinished cruiser, overlapped with the desire of Istanbul to receive material profits from this situation. Therefore, "Varyag" and "Suhaili" continued to wait for the solution of their own, which turned out to be so difficult, the issue.
Towing through the Bosphorus
Summer passed, and autumn passed, winter came on the Black Sea. “Varyag” spent this cold season in the Bulgarian territorial waters. In April 2001, the Turkish authorities finally refused to allow the People’s Republic of China to pass through the Bosphorus. Such a categorical explanation was explained by the serious fear that the Varyag might be stuck in the strait, or that the uncontrollable ship would blow it onto the coast full of buildings with a gust of wind. All this time the Varyag drifted along with regularly changing tugs.
The situation with the ship, which could not be returned to the seller, hung in the air. Finally, the Chinese government intervened firmly and confidently. During the new round of bulldogs under the carpet in August 2001, an agreement was reached: China paid billions in insurance in case of unforeseen situations and assumed all costs if they occurred during the passage of the Bosporus and Dardanelles. In addition, the Chinese side promised a large flow of its tourists, which would have a very positive impact on the Turkish economy.
1 November 2001, on the 506 day after the Black Sea Plant was left behind, the Varyag, accompanied by the Norwegian ocean tug Havila Champion and the Russian tug of the Russian fleet SB-131, Nikolai Chiker entered the Bosphorus. Contrary to the fears of the Turkish side that an accident will happen with the cruiser, and it will block the transport artery with its hull, the crossing of the Black Sea straits has passed unhindered.
The Aegean Sea met the caravan with a storm, which soon reached 10 points. Wind gusts fell on ships at speeds of 25 – 28 m / s. On the night of November 3, the towing cable that connected the Varyag with the Norwegian tugboat Havila Champion broke. The huge ship hull was in the grip of the elements. At this time there were seven people on the cruiser, among them three representatives of the Black Sea Shipbuilding Plant, headed by the last main builder of the Varyag, Yevgeny Mikhailovich Entis.
Early in the morning of November 4, it turned out that no one controlled the ship was carrying the cliffs of the nearby island. The situation was critical: neither the Norwegian nor the Dutch tugboats could take the ends from the Varyag. The situation was changed by the Russian "Nikolai Chiker", who managed to receive a tug, served from the stern of the cruiser. All 12 storm watch is the largest and most powerful tug in the world (of the same type, "Fotiy Krylov") held the huge Varyag hull.
The people on board the cruiser were able to evacuate the helicopter that sank to the deck and deliver it to Piraeus. During maneuvers around the "Varyag" while transferring a cable from a Dutch tug to a Norwegian one member of the crew died.
After the elements calmed down, Yevgeny Yentis and his colleagues were again brought aboard the Varyag, the towing of which continued unhindered. The Mediterranean Sea remained behind the stern, and the caravan continued its movement at an average speed of 7 nodes around Africa. In contrast to the not very hospitable Aegean Sea, the weather in the ocean remained favorable. On New Year's Eve from 2001 to 2002, Varyag and its accompanying tugs, including Nikolay Chiker, passed the Cape of Good Hope.
Missed entertainment center. On board is the home port "Kingstown"
The caravan did not enter the ports — fuel was towed, provisions, and fresh water delivered by ships chartered by China. 3 March 2002, the Odyssey of Varyag, is finally over - it has reached the waters of the port of Dalian. So ended история Soviet unfinished heavy aircraft carrier cruiser, and began the history of the Chinese aircraft carrier "Liaoning".
Under the chinese flag
The idea of having an aircraft carrier as part of our own fleet has existed in China since the end of the 1960s, when the country was already firmly established in the nuclear club. Continuing problems in relations with the USSR, the Taiwanese problem and the presence of American bases at the side pushed the thoughts of some of the Chinese military circles to the feasibility of building an aircraft carrier.
The shipyard in Dalian
In the spring of 1970, a special commission was created headed by General Liu Hua Qing to work out this issue. After carefully analyzing the situation and the possibilities of the country, this commission spoke out against the program of building such ships because of their excessive cost of living and the lack of the necessary technologies for this. In 1992, the Chinese delegation visited the unfinished Varyag, which was parked, because the temptation to acquire a ship in high readiness was too great, but then this idea was abandoned for political reasons. Finally, in the year 2002, after a completely successful economic combination with a double bottom, China got a unique ship.
Thanks to a pragmatic approach and clearly defined goals and objectives, Beijing has acquired not only the ship, but also ready-made technologies, the development and implementation of which takes decades. The price of the issue was expressed in an insignificant sum for the Chinese economy - 25 million dollars.
25 September 2012 was held the solemn ceremony of commissioning the Navy of the People’s Liberation Army of the aircraft carrier "Liaoning" of China, whose service successfully continues to this day. On the territory of the outbuilding embankment of the Black Sea Plant, where Varyag once stood, the Nibulon enterprise is now located, one of the main areas of activity of which is grain and fertilizer trade.