On Saturday, 23 November 2013, Standing NATO Maritime Group TWO (SNMG2) performed an opposed boarding exercise on the French oiler FS VAR, the culmination of four months of intense combined training that demonstrated the interoperability of the Group’s three ships.
The Group’s flagship ESPS ALVARO DE BAZAN and the German FGS SACHSEN and Turkish TCG SALIHREIS acted as a single unit during a coordinated boarding exercise on the oiler, demonstrating the skills necessary to face the challenges prevalent in the Mediterranean during maritime security operations.
The three ships reacted sharply and quickly to the scenario, safely reaching the necessary close position to conduct the visit and seizure of a vessel suspicious of conducting illegal activities. The scenario was designed to follow a typical application of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
While small boats were approaching the suspect vessel, a helicopter and snipers kept a watchful eye for threats to the boarding team. In less than 45 minutes, the suspect merchant vessel was secured.
“I am very satisfied that this team of three ships has become able to operate as a single unit,” said Commander SNMG2 Rear Admiral Eugenio Diaz del Rio.
SNMG2 is wrapping up six months’ support to NATO’s counter-terrorism Operation ACTIVE ENDEAVOUR in the Mediterranean, and will soon take command of NATO’s counter-piracy Operation OCEAN SHIELD in the Indian Ocean.
Press Release, November 28, 2013; Image: NATO ACO