German Navy’s combat support ship EGV Bonn, flagship of NATO’s Standing Maritime Group 2, was relieved of her duties by another German ship, frigate Karlsruhe, during a ceremony in Souda Bay, Crete.
EGV Bonn sailed 20.000 nautical miles during the four months she served as flagship of NATO’s mission aimed at curbing people-smuggling activities in the Aegean Sea off the coasts of Turkey and Greece.
Deputy Commander NATO Maritime Command Vice Admiral Bruno Palmier witnessed the change of command ceremony. Palmier transferred command from Rear Admiral Jörg Klein to FGS Karlsruhe commander, Rear Admiral Kay-Achim Schönbach.
NATO’s SNMG 2 began standard operating procedures in Germany in January 2016. The standard tasks changed shortly thereafter as the EU decided to deploy the group to the Aegean Sea in response to the migratory crisis in Europe.
The group has been undertaking reconnaissance and monitoring activities in support of cooperative efforts of Turkey, Greece, and the European Union border agency FRONTEX.
NATO has been active in the waters off the Greek islands of Lesbos, Chios, Samos and Kos and the Turkish coast.