Standing NATO Maritime Group Two (SNMG2) vessels have entered the Black Sea for routine operations in the area, say NATO.
Standing NATO Maritime Group Two is composed of three frigates from Canada, Italy and Turkey and is commanded by Italian Navy Rear Admiral Paolo Fantoni.
With three Allied nations bordering the Black Sea, Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey, a number of Allied ships regularly operate in the Black Sea. The Standing Naval Forces also conduct regular patrols in the international waters of the Black Sea enhancing Allied ability to work together in the maritime domain.
The NATO Group will visit the Georgian port Poti at the beginning of April. Although many of the planned activities with the Georgian authorities, media gatherings and events are being scaled down in order to reduce risk for both sides of COVID-19, the exercises at sea involving Georgian Navy will go on as planned.
SNMG2 ships – HMCS Fredericton, ITS Fasan and TCG Salihreis – entered the Black Sea after an intense programme of exercises in the Central Mediterranean.
“It is undeniable that, given the global pandemic, extraordinary measures must be put in force to prevent and mitigate the risk of exposure for every single individual involved in the activities. Together with our medical staff, we are working daily to enforce these measures while continuously refining them, as well as develop procedures to adopt in the unlikely case of an infection amongst the crew in order to minimize the risk of spreading, should such event take place. This work is part of what enables us to continue our support to NATO partner nations in the Black Sea.” — Rear Admiral Paolo Fantoni, Italian Navy, Commander of SNMG2
NATO say that SNMG2 is one of four standing forces that comprise the maritime component of the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF), which is part of the NATO Response Force (NRF). To respond to contingency situations additional forces can be added to these groups, with the NATO command staff onboard and the ships of the group as the nucleus, capable of providing support to NATO operations.