Standing NATO Maritime Group Two units are visiting the Georgian port of Poti.
Although many of the planned activities with the Georgian authorities, media gatherings and events are being cancelled as a measure of safeguarding both the crews and the population from exposure to COVID-19, the exercises at sea involving the Georgian Coast Guard are going ahead as planned, say NATO.
“COVID-19 preventative measures are in place, meaning there will be no direct or face-to-face contact between the SNMG2 crews and representatives on the ground in Poti.”
SNMG2 is composed of five vessels – from Bulgaria, Canada, Italy, Romania and Turkey, commanded by Italian Navy Rear Admiral Paolo Fantoni aboard the group’s flagship, ITS Fasan.
The NATO group entered the Black Sea on Monday, 23 March for its deployment in the area, maintaining a high readiness state.
“Opportunities such as this to exercise and work closely with the Georgian Coast Guard greatly enhance our interoperability between our Forces, which can pay significant dividends in future cooperation in the maritime domain,” said Rear Admiral Paolo Fantoni, Italian Navy, Commander of SNMG2.
According to a NATO news release:
“Three Allied nations and two NATO Partner nations border the Black Sea making cooperation, security and stability of keen interest to NATO. To support this goal, the Standing Naval Forces of the Alliance have increased their presence in the Black Sea. In 2019, Standing NATO Maritime Group Two as well as Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group Two spent a combined total of nearly 100 days in the Black Sea.
Standing NATO Maritime Group Two is currently deployed to the Black Sea consists of five units: ITS Fasan (Italy), HMCS Fredericton (Canada), TCG Salihreis (Turkey), ROS Regina Maria (Romania) and BGS Verni (Bulgaria).”