July 3, 2019 – Standing NATO Maritime Group Two (SNMG2) arrived in the Black Sea yesterday to conduct a routine patrol to enhance interoperability with Allies and build on cooperation with NATO Partners.
SNMG2 is led by Commodore Josée Kurtz of the Royal Canadian Navy from the Group’s flagship, Royal Canadian Navy frigate HMCS Toronto. The group also includes Turkish frigate TCG Turgutreis and British frigate HMS Duncan, which transited into the Black Sea with HMCS Toronto. There they are joining with Romanian frigate ROS Regele Ferdinand as well.
“Patrolling the Black Sea is a great way to re-assemble the Group and integrate under new leadership,” said Commodore Kurtz. “This is an excellent opportunity for our sailors to hone their skills, practice working together, while also reinforcing the strong NATO bonds that link our Allied and Partner nations together.”
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.
During the group’s patrol in the Black Sea, SNMG2 plans to conduct a port visit to NATO Partner Ukraine, and participate in exercise Sea Breeze, co-hosted by the United States and Ukraine. While not a member of NATO, Ukraine is a highly valued partner to NATO, contributing to NATO operations and regularly exercising together in a demonstration of Ukraine’s strong commitment to international security.
Following the completion of Sea Breeze, the group will continue on to Bulgaria to participate in exercise Breeze before departing the Black Sea.