Units from Standing NATO Maritime Group Two (SNMG2) have carried out a three-day exercise programme after returning from the Black Sea.

During the middle of April, vessels performed various training with NATO Allies, including air defence exercises with the Hellenic Air Force, manoeuvring and communication drills, replenishment at sea with the German supply vessel Berlin, surface and submarine exercises and boarding team training, say NATO in a news release.

“The objective is to maintain the operational capabilities and readiness of the Force, enhancing our interoperability and proficiency, providing NATO with an always prepared instrument, despite the current COVID-19 global emergency,” said Rear Admiral Paolo Fantoni, Italian Navy, Commander of SNMG2.

The passage of the Group along the southern coast of Italy gave the opportunity to perform training activities with two Italian Navy frigates – Alpino and Federico Martinengo, and three shore-based flying assets, during their deployment in associated support to NATO Operation Sea Guardian.

“Countermeasures against any possible contact with the COVID epidemic, which are now part of the fundamental objective of our mission, allow us to maintain our unhindered readiness,” added Rear Admiral Fantoni.

The Task Group has performed logistic visits to various ports since the restrictions imposed by the World Health Organization. To ensure safety of both crews and civilians ashore, no direct contact has taken place, with crews always remaining on board.

SNMG2 units returned to the Central Mediterranean following their recent Black Sea deployment at the beginning of April. The Group continues their mission of high readiness patrol. SNMG2 currently consists of frigates ITS Fasan, TCG Salihreis, HMCS Fredericton, as well as German supply ship Berlin.

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