When serving on a ship, it isn’t always possible to distance yourself.
Even one sailor with COVID-19 could mean the entire ship becomes infected. Therefore, NATO crews all across the Alliance are taking stringent measures to ensure this risk is minimised.

According to a news release from the Alliance:

“All our missions have robust procedures in place to protect our people and prevent the spread of the virus. The particular action of each ship is dictated by the ship’s national policies. In general, it’s limiting contact between ships, hand washing, disinfecting of supplies transferred, routine ship dis-infecting and, when in port for resupply, crews are not allowed to leave their ships. Our ships are essentially self-quarantined in place as units. Because of these enhanced measures that were undertaken weeks ago, we have not seen active transmission within any of NATO’s Standing Naval Forces. So far, all our forces are able to continue conducting missions in a manner that takes precautionary measures, while still ensuring readiness. Our forces remain prepared, vigilant, and ready to act if called upon.”

“It is vital that we are able to conduct our operations and tasks regardless of the threat from COVID-19. Reducing the risk of getting the virus on board our ships in the task group is therefore one of my top priorities”, said Commodore Yngve Skoglund, Commander of Standing NATO Maritime Group One (SNMG1).

SNMG2 Commander, Rear Admiral Paolo Fantoni, added:

“The threat of COVID appeared when we were at sea at the end of February. Preventative measures started back then and now are part of the fundamental objectives of our mission, allowing us to maintain our unhindered readiness at sea.”

Ships from Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group Two (SNMCMG2) started implementing protective measures already from 27 February, including a wet chloramine carpet at the flagship entrance, antibacterial gel cans, masks and gloves, say NATO.

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