NATO’s Standing Maritime Group changed command in a ceremony in Lisbon, Portugal, on June 30.
Commodore Mike Utley OBE formally handed over command of the SNMG2 to his Dutch counterpart Commodore Boudewijn G.F.M. Boots.
This marked the end of a yearlong UK commitment leading SNMG2. Rear Admiral James Morley assumed Command of SNMG2 during a ceremony in Souda Bay, Crete 12 months previously before handing over to Commodore Mike Utley on the 4th January 2018.
Air-defense and command frigate HNLMS De Ruyters assumed the SNMG2 flagship role from Type 45 destroyer HMS Duncan during the same ceremony, which was presided over by Commander Allied Maritime Command Vice Admiral Clive C C Johnstone CB CBE.
HMS Duncan is set to return to her homeport of Portsmouth on July 13 after an eventful deployment which has seen her operate in the Black Sea and Mediterranean for six months. The Type 45 destroyer provided an air picture to NATO during the US/FR/UK air strikes in Syria and rescued two Algerian fishermen lost at sea for a number of days.
“To Command SNMG2 during a successful deployment and a period of significant UK contribution to NATO has been an honor. I am proud of the achievements and the contributions made to maritime security, regional stability and defense engagement whilst operating in the Mediterranean and Black Sea,” Commander SNMG2, Commodore Mike Utley OBE Royal Navy said. “The delivery of such strategic effect has been made possible by having a highly capable and versatile flagship such as HMS Duncan and all the allied ships which have worked with us.”