- Captain Albert's Blog -

Stories from the Sea, Past and Present

10 June 2018; Helsinki, Finland.

If we still have guests on board who are rumbling and moaning about the weather then we have to send them home as this morning the weather was picture perfect. Full sun, no wind and the sun from the east shining over the fortresses and islands in front of the city. So the good old Prinsendam was gliding like a blue swan into the port of Helsinki and wedged herself in between a Ferris wheel and a municipal swimming pool. We docked as far in downtown as you can possibly go and if you inhaled deeply you could smell the famous fish market at the corner of the harbor, where downtown really starts (or ends depending on your point of view).

The refurbished dome of the St. Nicolas Basilica towering about the base.

But as promised first an update about yesterday’s sailing away from St. Petersburg. The only challenge with nice weather is that the ship is sailing against the sun and thus you need to look towards the stern to see the sun illuminating the landscape. After 90 minutes sailing we came to Kronstadt, and as was the case with the Marine Façade, they have been building here considerably and we also saw some newer navy ships. The golden dome of the St. Nicolas Basilica had been repainted or redone with gold leaf and large apartment buildings, all in red, erected at what looked at the edge of the navy base. Wikipedia tells us that the two modern (at least reasonably painted) war ships in port were: ……………………………….Quote:

Photo taking from the same location as before in 2010 as published yesterday. Most of the old ships are gone and two  navy ships still in service were at the main dock.

The 530:

Soobrazitelnyy (Сообразительный – Smart/Astute) is the second ship of the latest class of corvettes of the Russian Navy, the Steregushchy class. The ship was being built by the Severnaya Verf shipyard in St. Petersburg and was laid down in May 2003. It was launched in late March 2010 [3] and joined the Baltic Fleet in the 2011.

The ship is the first of the class to be fitted with the Redut system intended to increase its anti-aircraft capabilities with respect to the Kashtan CIWS previously used. The corvette was shown to the public for the first time at the Fifth International Maritime Defence Show (IMDS-2011) in St. Petersburg.[4]

And the 620 For which Wikipedia does not have any details:

Bespokoynyy (620) (Sovremenny-class destroyer) (1991) (I do not know anything about warships, so I just hope that the experts have it right)


(I do not know anything about warships, so I just hope that the experts have it right) As they looked well painted but with patches I assume they were in a major overhaul project and thus parked here.

The major old fortress guarding Imperial Russia from the (Swedish) attacks coming from the Baltic.

Centerpiece of the base is the round 3 level fort which dates back to 1704 when the Tsar Peter the Great founded Kronstadt as a defense against the Swedish. It became of secondary importance in the 19th century but it is still there although it could do with some TLC. Thus it looks as if the old base for the Russian Baltic Fleet has received a new lease of life as some of the buildings had clearly been restored and painted and there was also work underway to repair the crumbling seawalls which separate the base from the open water.

The sea barrier is a very long dyke which runs for miles with a  gap for the ships. The fairway can be closed of by two quadrants, one of each side, seen here in white. With the current un-settled weather they have been put in use already quite a few times.

Once past the base, one is at once at the Sea Barrier which indeed has now been completed and according to the pilot is closed 5 to 6 times a year to stop spring tide floods or westerly storms pushing too much water towards the City. What had not changed was the pilot station where the “Lootsenman” left with a smaller boat which then returned to the mother ship where the pilot can take a nap until he is on the roster again.


The planned maneuver. As you can see there is enough room but not much more than that. This morning the captain decided to swing around the other way and bring the nose into the wind, instead of the stern.

And so this morning we arrived in down-down town, where the Prinsendam has about the maximum length that swing around in the port and as it was wind still that was exactly what the captain did. As with wind in the port this would have been an interesting maneuver and so it is always better to be ready with the nose out.

Tomorrow we are in Turku, also Finland, and the Prinsendam is going back to her place of birth from 30 years ago. We going to have a party and are inviting a number of people who were working at the shipyard 30 years ago and helped build her.

Tomorrow we are looking at another glorious day. Sunny with temperatures of 73oF / 23oC and a gentle breeze.


  1. Hi Kaptein;

    620 is the RFS Bespokoynyy, meaning “Restless” in English, a Project 956 Sarych (Buzzard) aka Sovremennyy class destroyer, assigned to the Russian Baltic fleet, home ported at Baltiysk naval base in the enclave of Kaliningrad. There has been some confusion as to her current status. Some reports list her as officially in reserve, awaiting decommissioning. Wikipedia however, lists her as a “Museum ship in Kronstadt” She entered service with the Russian Navy in 1992, after having been built (like 530 Soobrazitelnyy) at the Severnaya Verf, literally ‘Northern Shipyard’, a major shipyard on Gutuevsky Island in Saint Petersburg. The Sovremenny-class of destroyers is still the principal anti-surface warship of the Russian Navy (“Sovremenny” translates to “Modern”). According to Wikipedia, the lead ship of the class, Sovremenny, was laid down in 1976 and commissioned in 1980. A total of 18 have been built for the Russian Navy, but currently only 5 remain in service due to lack of funds and trained personnel. Additional 3 ships are ongoing modernization and overhaul and 2 are laid-up in reserve.

    There are a total of three versions of this class: the original Project 956 armed with the 3M80 version of the Moskit anti-ship missile, and its successor, the Project 956A, which is armed with the improved 3M80M version of the Moskit with longer range. The main difference between the two is that the missile launching tubes on Project 956A are longer than that of Project 956 to accommodate the increased size of the newer missile, and these launching tubes can be used to fire / store the original 3M80 as well. A third version, Project 956EM, later developed for the People’s Liberation Army Navy Surface Force was the latest development of this class. Chinese media called the ship “carrier killer”. The Chinese purchased four ships.

    • Thank you very much.

      I was sort of hoping that you “take up the challenge” and sort it out for me. thank you very much. If the readers also read
      the comments then they have the complete picture.

      Best regards

      Capt. Albert

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *