Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group Two (SNMCMG2), comprised of the Spanish flagship ESPS Rayo, the Bulgarian minesweeper BGS Shkval, the Italian ship ITS Viareggio, the Romanian ship ROS Lt Lupu Dinescu, and the Turkish ship TCG Edincik, visited Batumi, Georgia, from September 27 to September 30.
After leaving Istanbul and traversing the Black Sea, the SNMCMG2 arrived in Batumi harbour on September 27th and was greeted by civilian and military authorities as part of stringent COVID-19 risk mitigation measures.
Georgia is a member of NATO’s Partnership for Peace Programme. The purpose of the visit was to boost NATO-Georgian ties, improve security and marine awareness in the Black Sea region, and reinforce Georgian Coast Guard capabilities.
SNMCMG2 and the Georgian Coast Guard interacted through activities such as intelligence exchange, training briefings, and at-sea communications and manoeuvring exercises. These initiatives help to improve the regional marine capacity building as well as mutual understanding, interoperability, and cohesion.
The Black Sea is of strategic importance to alliance. With three Allied nations, Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey and two regional partners, Georgia and Ukraine as littoral states, cooperation in the region for a secure maritime environment are of particular interest for NATO.
SNMCMG2 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 command staff on board and the ships of the Group as the nucleus, capable of providing timely support to operations.
The Black Sea is of strategic importance to NATO. With three Allied nations, Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey and two regional partners, Georgia and Ukraine as littoral states, cooperation in the region for a secure maritime environment are a matter of particular interest.
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