February 18, 2021 – The flagship of the first focused patrol of 2021 for NATO’s maritime security operation Sea Guardian (OSG), ESPS Meteoro visited Morocco between 15-17 February 2021.
After their arrival at the port of Tangiers, Meteoro’s Commanding Officer Lieutenant Commander Álvaro Muñoz-Delgado Ramírez of the Spanish Navy, met with the representatives of Morocco’s fifth Maritime Region, including their Chief of Operations, Commander Mohammad Alnouar. The interaction included briefing the Moroccan side on OSG, and building links for future training, interoperability and operational cooperation. Stringent COVID measures were in place to minimize risk of exposure, and ensure the health of the crew is protected.
“Working together in partnership through the NATO Operation Sea Guardian improves maritime security in the whole Mediterranean region. Sea Guardian is an excellent choice for NATO cooperation with non-NATO actors like Morocco, and benefits all sides” said Lieutenant Commander Álvaro Muñoz-Delgado Ramírez.
NATO Operation Sea Guardian is a year-round, proactive and forward-looking 360 commitment of up-keeping deterrence on terrorism and illegal activities. This operation is also a fusion of information to create a comprehensive picture of daily activities in the Mediterranean, and NATO Maritime Command serves as the hub of maritime security information sharing for the Alliance.
The first OSG Focused Operation for 2021 focuses on the Alboran Sea. Spanish offshore patrol vessel Meteoro is supported by maritime patrol aircrafts from Portugal and Spain. Turkish and Spanish special operations forces also support in stand-by under the OSG Special Operations Command and Control Element (SOCCE). Due to COVID measures, all in-person interactions have been scaled down to protect the crew and the mission.
With each OSG focused engagement, NATO seeks to further develop our partnerships so that they continue to meet the interests of both Allies and partners. Over the last few years, the number of partner units certified and evaluated to NATO standards has increased, new partners have joined interoperability programmes, and opportunities for partner participation in NATO exercises have been widened.
This Operation remains one of the most important tools for NATO projecting stability throughout the Mediterranean Sea and sustaining maritime situational awareness. Focused patrols of NATO’s Operation Sea Guardian help NATO maintain an accurate maritime picture of daily activity in the focused areas of the Mediterranean Sea and is an opportunity to increase cooperation and interoperability.