The flagship Hellenic Navy frigate Salamis and the Croatian Navy missile boat Dubrovnik, supported by aircraft and submarines from Greece, Italy, and Turkey, deployed to the Central Mediterranean as part of NATO’s maritime security operation, Operation Sea Guardian (OSG), on 11 March 2021, NATO Maritime Command announced.
The second OSG Focused Operation for 2021 focuses on the Central Mediterranean, with a planned port visit to Tunis, Tunisia. Turkish and Spanish special operations forces support 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.
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 the Mediterranean’s daily activities. The NATO Maritime Command serves as the hub of maritime security information sharing for the Alliance.
Operation Sea Guardian is a non-Article five maritime security operation of NATO to work with Mediterranean stakeholders and partners to maintain maritime situational awareness, deter and counter-terrorism, and enhance capacity building.
With each OSG focused engagement, NATO seeks to develop our partnerships further to 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 programs, and opportunities for partner participation in NATO exercises have been widened. These relationships offer valuable opportunities to prevent conflicts and develop regional security and stability through dialogue, confidence-building, and increased transparency.
This Operation remains one of the critical 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 Mediterranean Sea’s focused areas and is an opportunity to increase cooperation and interoperability.