NATO MCM Group returns to the Black Sea

Black Sea
ESPS Rayo (NATO MARCOM photo)

Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group Two (SNMCMG2) units have entered the Black Sea for the third time this year to conduct routine operations and to pay a port visit to Batumi, Georgia, according to a press release.

The Spanish flagship ESPS Rayo, the Italian ship ITS Viareggio, and the Turkish ship TCG Edincik make up the SNMCMG2. Following their entry into the Black Sea, the Romanian ship ROS Lt. Lupu Dinescu and the Bulgarian ship BGS Shkval will join the group.

The third deployment of the SNMCMG2 to the Black Sea represents an important opportunity for our Allies and partners to improve interoperability and readiness through collaboration. The deployment will include port visits to Batumi, Georgia, following which there will be an exercise with the Georgian Coast Guard to conclude the mission. The deployment will include a port visit to the Turkish city of Samsun.

Due to the fact that the Black Sea is bordered by three Allied nations (Bulgaria, Romania, and Turkey), as well as two regional partners (Ukraine and Georgia), the presence of Standing Naval Groups in the region is a regular occurrence. In addition to conducting maritime security patrols in international waters while in the Black Sea, the group will collaborate with regional partners to improve NATO maritime situational awareness.

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ESPS Rayo

“NATO operates across the breadth and depth of SACEUR’s Area of Responsibility—day-in and day-out. These activities are consistent with our shared values and keep with international law—our activities in the Black Sea are no different. The three Allied and two partner Nations participating in this joint exercise strengthen NATO’s awareness and demonstrates our ability to secure the sovereign terrain of our great Alliance,” said U.S. Air Force Major General Phillip A. Stewart, Deputy Chief of Staff Strategic Employment, Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe.

“Maritime patrols enhance interoperability between Allies and Partners. This activity demonstrates NATO’s commitment to Black Sea security and the capacity to uphold freedom of navigation within international waters.”

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