Norwegian Navy Commodore Nils Andreas Stensønes assumed command of Standing NATO Maritime Group 1 (SNMG1) during a ceremony that took place aboard the new fleet flagship HNoMS THOR HEYERDAHL on Friday, 24 January 2014.
Commodore Stensønes relieved from duty Commodore Henning Amundsen, who led SNMG1 in the Gulf of Aden in NATO’s counter-piracy Operation OCEAN SHIELD.
“I am pleased to take the helm of the maritime group, as SNMG1 turns its attention towards the High Arctic for the first part of its 2014 program,” said Commodore Stensønes. “I am happy that Norway is in a position to contribute with a ship, staff members and command for the first half of 2014. It shows that we are both capable and willing.”
The Arctic’s emerging geopolitical importance is evident by the very number of applicants for observer status in the Arctic Council. In that respect, Norway seems to be a vital NATO partner, along with Canada in preservation of Europe’s strategic interests in the region.
Later this year, SNMG1 will join NATO’s counter-terrorism Operation ACTIVE ENDEAVOUR in the Mediterranean Sea and Straits of Gibraltar.
Naval Today Staff, January 28, 2014; Image: NATO