Last week, two ships from Standing NATO Maritime Group TWO (SNMG2) passed through the Suez Canal en route to taking command of NATO’s counter-piracy Operation OCEAN SHIELD.
SNMG2 flagship ESPS ALVARO DE BAZAN and Turkish frigate TCG GELIBOLU will soon join the Ukraine frigate UPS HETMAN SAGAIDACHNY to form NATO counter-piracy task force 508 (CTF-508). SAGAIDACHNY is already part of CTF-508 under the command of SNMG1 flagship HNoMS FRIDTJOF NANSEN.
This period of transition follows six months of support by SNMG2 to NATO counter-terrorism Operation ACTIVE ENDEAVOUR in the Mediterranean, as well as multinational exercises BRILLIANT MARINER 2013, DOGU AKDENIZ 2013, and BREEZE 2013.
“We are really proud of facing the two most challenging threats to the maritime environment: terrorism and piracy,” said Commander SNMG2 Rear Adm. Eugenio Diaz Del Rio.
SNMG2 Mediterranean deployment statistics:
• 16 fuel replenishment at sea with 6 different oilers
• 18 anti-submarine exercises with 4 different submarines
• 50+ surface warfare exercises
• 20+ anti-air warfare exercises
• 40+ manoeuvring exercises
• 18 port visits in 9 countries, strengthening relationships with Navies and local governments
• 6 Spanish Ambassador visits
• Visits by SACEUR and COM MARCOM
• Engagements with 4 Chiefs of Navy
Press Release, December 9, 2013; Image: NATO