In any world crisis, it is said that the first question any American President asks is: “Where are the carriers?”
In Russia, it is: “Where are the tugboats?”
The decrepitude of the Russian navy is so pronounced that every deployment is accompanied by a salvage tug, just in case (and the case is quite likely) the sortied combat ships break down at sea.
Two examples. A Russian anti-piracy deployment in the Gulf of Aden:
Led by the Udaloy class destroyer Marshal Shaposhnikov, the task force also includes the Irkut tanker and the Alatau rescue tug boat.
Salvage tug SB-36, a part of the squadron of the Russian Navy in the Gulf of Aden, met in the open ocean in distress schooner famous Russian traveler Fyodor Konyukhov and now accompanies her to the port of Salalah in Oman. On Wednesday reported RIA Novosti news agency, citing the press service of Defense Ministry.
Second example: the totally-totally!-benign deployment of Russian ships to Gaza:
“The detachment of combat ships of the Black Sea Fleet, including the Guards missile cruiser Moskva, the patrol ship Smetliviy, large landing ships Novocherkassk and Saratov, the sea tug MB-304 and the big sea tanker Ivan Bubnov, got the order to remain in the designated area of the Eastern part of the Mediterranean Sea for a possible evacuation of Russian citizens from the area of the Gaza strip in case of escalation of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict”, the spokesperson said.
I swear to God, every freaking time I read a headline about deployment of Russian Navy vessels, I ask: “Is there a salvage tug bobbing along after the cruiser or destroyer or whatever?” And every freaking time I click the link, the answer is: “YES!”
Sorry. It just cracks me up.