Two Standing NATO Maritime Group Two (SNMG2) ships, the flagship, FGS Hamburg, and HDMS Absalon, arrived for a port visit to Haifa, Israel on December 7.
The crews of the ships will have opportunities to interact with their Israeli counterparts. On conclusion, NATO and Israeli naval forces plan to participate in a passing exercise (PASSEX) to enhance interoperability.
SNMG2 was engaged in the preceding months supporting NATO’s counter-terrorism Operation Active Endeavour. HDMS Absalon, a recent addition to SNMG2, has been deployed since September in the Indian Ocean in support of NATO’s counter-piracy Operation Ocean Shield.
Since joining the Mediterranean Dialogue (MD) in 1995, NATO/Israel cooperation has included search and rescue, humanitarian relief, border security, counter-terrorism, and emergency planning.
The port visit to the Israel follows visits to MD partners Morocco (SNMG2), Jordan (counter-piracy Task Force 508 HDMS Absalon), and Algeria (Standing NATO Mine Counter-Measures Group Two) earlier in 2015.