March 12, 2021 – Standing NATO Maritime Group Two (SNMG2) will enter the Black Sea on 12 March 2021 for the first time this year to conduct further routine operations and to participate in a regional exercise organised by the Romanian Navy.
SNMG2, composed of ESPS Cristobal Colon (flagship), BGS Smeli, ROS Regina Maria and TCG Kemalreis, will enter the Black Sea under the command of the Spanish Navy Rear Admiral Manuel Aguirre Aldereguía.
Regular presence of a Standing Naval Force in the Black Sea region is a way for the Alliance to show presence in this area of responsibility
“Having three allied nations and two partners among the littoral countries, regular presence of a Standing Naval Force in the Black Sea region is a way for the Alliance to show presence in this area of responsibility, enhance interoperability between Allies and partners, demonstrate NATO’s commitment to Black Sea security and to preserve freedom of movement within international waters for all nations,” said Commander of SNMG2, Rear Admiral Manuel Aguirre Aldereguía.
During its deployment in the Black Sea, and after the joining of BGS Smeli and ROS Regina Maria, SNMG2 will conduct force integration training, maritime security patrols within the region, and it will integrate with NATO Air Command activities. During this integration, a Common Operational Picture (COP) will be established with the main aim of reinforcing the connectivity functions of the NATO Integrated Air and Missile Defence Systems and verifying coordination processes among air and maritime assets. This activity, along with the participation in Romanian Navy exercise Sea Shield, will enhance interoperability between allies and regional partners, increase cohesion and enhance the credibility of NATO’s deterrence posture.
The Force will also conduct port visits to NATO countries in the region, such as Constanta (Romania) and Samsun (Turkey) as well as a diplomatic port visit to Poti (Georgia).
NATO Standing Groups regularly participate in exercises in the Black Sea with Allied nations bordering the Black Sea to improve interoperability, practice NATO standard procedures, tactics and techniques.
After completing this Black Sea deployment, SNMG2 will resume its program of activities in the Mediterranean, including participation in multi-national maritime exercises, maritime security operations and support to Operation Sea Guardian, as well as continuing cooperation with allied and partner navies.
SNMG2 is one of four standing forces that comprise the maritime component of the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF), which is part of the NATO Response Force (NRF). To respond to contingency situations, additional forces can be added to these groups, with the NATO command staff on board and the ships of the Group as the nucleus, capable of providing timely support to NATO operations.