The Mongolian Navy

When you think of Mongolia what do you think of? Nomads, horses, wrestlers, Chinggis Khan, gers, wide open steppe … and maybe mutton.

What about a navy?

Yes, it may seem a little odd that Mongolia (the second largest landlocked nation after Kazakhstan and with the closest port (roughly) 1270km away) has a navy. But it does. Of a sort. Based at Khatgal – the small community in the south of Khovsgol Nuur.

In the 1930s, the Mongolian Navy was reborn under the auspices of the Soviet Union. It received one boat, the Sukhbaatar, to patrol Lake Khovsgol.  The ship was named after Damdiny Sukhbaatar, the Mongolian revolutionary leader who brought independence from China in 1921.

The Sukhbaatar eventually sank. As did Sukhbaatar II. The Sukhbaatar III is still surviving. But, the Mongolian government privatised its navy in 1997. So now the Sukhbaatar III supplements its income by hauling freight (mainly  visitors) across the lake.

When the lake is not frozen … obviously.