Standing NATO Maritime Group Two (SNMG2) participated in the Turkish exercise Mavi Balina 2020, that runs in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea between the 30th of October and the 10th of November.

Mavi Balina (Blue Whale) is a biennial maritime exercise organised and hosted by the Turkish Navy, focused on anti-submarine warfare, taking place in international waters off the south coast of Turkey.

For this exercise, SNMG2 task group is composed of five warships from four NATO members: Spanish frigate Alvaro de Bazan, acting as flagship, the replenishment ship Patino from Spain and the frigates Smeli from Bulgaria, Regina Maria from Romania and Gaziantep from Turkey.

Apart from the nations contributing to SNMG2, the international community is represented by aircraft and ships from Pakistan and the United States.

“Mavi Balina 2020 gives SNMG2 a unique opportunity to train our anti-submarine warfighting skills in a highly demanding scenario. SNMG2 crews face this opportunity with enthusiasm and are ready to maximize the benefits”, said Spanish Navy Rear Admiral Manuel Aguirre, Commander of SNMG2,

“Mavi Balina success is even more remarkable if we consider the constraints imposed by Covid-19 pandemic.”

According to a NATO statement:

“SNMG2 is one of the NATO Standing Forces that comprise the core of the high readiness element of the NATO Response Force. Previously to Mavi Balina ‘20, SNMG2 deployed in the Western Mediterranean, where the task group participated in two NATO maritime exercises Dynamic Mariner ‘20 and Dynamic Guard ‘20, hosted by the French and the Spanish Navy, respectively.”

After completion of Mavi Balina ‘20, SNMG2 will proceed to Souda Naval Base in Greece for a handover of flagship from ESPS Alvaro de Bazan to ESPS Cristobal Colón, before continuing with a programme of maritime surveillance, exercises and port visits to NATO Allied nations.

Story via SNMG2 Public Affairs Officer

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Rob

Bulgaria has a frigate called Smeli…..

Simon

No ships from France or Greece then. No surprises there then!

Daveyb

That’s because Greece are down one ship, after it got its arse end cut off by a container ship. See Greek minesweeper Kallisto (ex HMS Berkeley).

Simon

I think its more to do with the fact that Spain and Italy are allies of Turkey and France and Greece are basically on the other side. NATO in the Med is not a unified force anymore of any kind.

AlexS

No ships from Italy either