Operation Sea Guardian is a maritime security operation aimed at working with Mediterranean nations to maintain maritime situational awareness, deter and counter terrorism and enhance partner capacity building.
NATO say that Croatian Navy vessel HRMV Vukovar (RTOP-41) and Royal Navy vessel HMS Echo will join Italian Navy frigate ITS Espero and various other associated vessels and aircraft in patrolling the central Mediterranean Sea to support Maritime Situational Awareness.
While working together, the ships will also train together to enhance interoperability by conducting communication drills, counter-asymmetric warfare exercises and information exchanges.
According to the alliance, this focused security patrol is part of the larger Operation Sea Guardian effort that operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year out of NATO Maritime Command in Northwood, UK, collecting information from Allies and partners to establish patterns-of-life in the Mediterranean.
This in turn allows NATO to identify activities that fall outside the normal patters-of-life and investigate further for possible security concerns.
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Daniele Mandelli

Patterns of life? Does this involve the free ferry service for economic migrants coming by the million to Europe across the Med after the total **** up we performed on Libya?

That we wanted to do the same in Syria amazes me.

Nick C

The Med is perhaps the most volatile area in which our armed forces are operating. Multiple problems and many threats. We are engaged in a maritime security exercise, and all we can offer is a survey ship? With the greatest respect to the ships company of HMS Echo, she is a survey ship, and should be doing what she is designed for, not chasing migrants. I think this is a real time illustration of the fact that we are really short of ships for the many tasks that the armed forces should be addressing.


Perfect reason to retain the Batch 1 Rivers. Let them remain on UK patrol, and send the Batch 2 vessels overseas with this sort of tasking in mind – and forward base them from Gibraltar to show a bit of regular funnel! With that in place, HMS Echo and HMS Enterprise return to their primary role.

Unfortunately, it looks like the manpower crisis won’t allow for their retention.