HS ALIAKMON (A-470)
The crest is a combination of two separate areas. On the bottom area we can identify the ALIAKMON River and on top we can see two of the main weapons she can carry and support the fleet, Guided Missile and a Torpedo. ALIAKMON river (or Haliakmon) is the longest river flowing entirely in Greece with a total length of 297 km (185 miles). The name Aliakmon is composite and derives from two different words als (salt, sea) and akmon (anvil). According to Greek Mythology, Aliakmon was one of the river gods, child of Oceanus and Tethys, according to the popular allegorical ideo-anthropomorphic perception of the ancient Greeks on the geological re-arrangements after Deucalion's flood. There is also another version of the name ALIAKMON. The name comes from the two words Alia (fishing) and akmi (as flourishing). So fishing was booming there at that era. An ancient tradition says that all the sheep that drank water from Aliakmon river changed color and became white.
Initially, Fast Sealift Ship (F.S.S.) SAARBURG, took her name from the ancient city of SAARBURG which was located in the state of TRIER (GERMANY). The history of the city, which has always been located near the estuary of the river SAAR, exceeds 1000 years.The small auxiliary / support ship SAARBURG was launched on 1st March 1966 at the BLOHM and VOSS shipyards in Hamburg. After a short period of refit, the ship was “christened” on July 15, 1966 by the wife of the Mayor of the city of SAARBURG, Mrs. Madeleine Lorenz.
The ship’s activation period was followed by the period of operational activity in July 1968. The first Commanding Officer was Lieutenant Commander Ressel. The ship was assigned to the 2nd Support Squadron and docked at CUXHANEN. After a period of 10 months she was placed in the replacement fleet at WILHELMSHAVEN on 14 May 1969. Late 1974 she was reactivated and modified to become a General Support Ship. Its length increased by 10.40m. The refits took place between compartments 6 and 7 (midship) at the SEEBECK shipyard. Thus she was converted into a 701C class Fleet General Support Ship. This conversion was deemed necessary because the ship had to adapt to its new mission, i.e. the supply of Fast Patrol Boats, Gun Boats, Frigates, Destroyers, with guided missiles, missiles, ammunition and torpedoes so that it could be used as a floating supply base. The new compartment (VIA) allows storage and delivery via cranes, all the above mentioned. A computerization system was also installed so that the supply department could respond to the execution of extensive supply operations.
On 16 September 1975 the ship was ready to undertake operational support activities under the Commander Support Ships, Captain HANERT and the new Commander Vice Captain PROPFE. The ship’s crew consisted mainly of the crew of the small storage ship GLUCKSBURG, which was replaced by FSS SAARBURG in the 1st Support Squadron and berthed at OLPENITZ. This was followed by a brief training session in the Baltic Sea where seamanship, ship mechanisms and automation tests on several systems and personnel training were carried out.
In the Spring of 1976 she fully joined the German Navy in the Support Ships flotilla, based in OLPENITZ. In May 1994 it was decommissioned, while on October 19, 1994 the Greek Flag was raised at the Crete Naval Base and the ship joined the Hellenic Navy under the name HS ALIAKMON and side number A-470. In conclusion HS ALIAKMON is an Auxiliary / General Support Ship, designed and acquired to support the Hellenic Fleet and other naval operations of the Hellenic Navy.