The latest round of Mediterranean Sea patrols carried out by NATO ships as part of operation Sea Guardian concluded on October 30 and saw the participation of four ships and one submarine.
Ships from the navies of Bulgaria, Italy, Romania and Turkey, in cooperation with maritime patrol aircraft from Greece and Turkey, spent two weeks in international waters of the eastern Mediterranean Sea gathering pattern-of-life information about maritime activities in the area.
While operating in the focus area, the ships identified 900 motor vessels, from large commercial shipping vessels to smaller fishing vessels. The group hailed 39 of those ships and were invited onboard four ships in support of building a better understanding of the activities occurring at sea in the eastern Mediterranean.
The group worked in coordination with support from NATO assigned Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) to cover the area and monitor the maritime activities across the area. This information is relayed back to Allied Maritime Command and added to the NATO Recognized Maritime Picture (RMP), a common picture available to all allies.
In support of the operation, both Greece and Turkey provided tankers, HS Prometheus and TCG Akar respectively, to support refuelling at sea to enable more hours at sea patrolling for the ships of the group.
While conducting the operation, the ships also trained together sending and receiving helicopters from ship to ship (cross-decking), conducting communication drills, anti-asymmetric warfare exercises and data link exchanges.
Operation Sea Guardian is a non-article 5 maritime security operation aimed at working with Mediterranean stakeholders to maintain maritime situational awareness, deter and counter terrorism and enhance capacity building.