After a year of operations, German Navy Rear Admiral Thorsten Marx has handed over command of Standing NATO Maritime Group One (SNMG1) to his Spanish successor, Rear Admiral Joaquín Ruiz Escagedo.

The Change of Command Ceremony took place on 11 January.

The ceremony was presided over by NATO Allied Maritime Command (MARCOM) Chief of Staff, Spanish Navy Rear Admiral Jose Enrique Delgado, on behalf of Commander MARCOM.

Reflecting on his tenure, Rear Admiral Marx said in a news release, “I look back on a demanding and rewarding deployment, during which I spent a total of 267 days at sea with my two flagships Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and Hessen, covering 70,390 nautical miles and visiting 40 ports on behalf of NATO reassurance. Throughout the year, I had a total of 29 ships with approximately 4000 sailors under my command, with whom I participated in 10 NATO major exercises and secured the NATO Summit in Vilnius from the sea.”

During the last year, SNMG1’s focus included providing comprehensive maritime situational awareness and monitoring activities across the operational area, particularly in surveillance and monitoring of critical undersea infrastructure (CUI). In 2023, SNMG1 saw participation from 29 ships from ten allied countries, with a peak during the summer when eleven ships were part of the task group.

SNMG1, as part of the NATO Response Force (NRF), is one of four standing naval forces comprising the maritime component of the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF). These groups are central to NATO’s maritime capabilities, ready to undertake missions across a full spectrum of operations.

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