According to the sources, Romanian Frigate ROS Regele Ferdinand (F-221), Bulgarian Frigate Verni (42) and Greek Frigate HS Navarinon (F-461) arrived Aksaz Naval Base of Turkey on Tuesday (22nd October). They are planned to stay at Aksaz Naval Base till 24th October.
These frigates are conducting Operation Sea Guardian (OSG), led by NATO Allied Maritime Command (MARCOM), in order to discourage illegal activities on the southern flank of NATO and the EU, through actions to monitor maritime traffic. HS Navarinon is the flagship of the task group, supported by the ROS Regele Ferdinand and BGS Verni. Their mission at OSG will finish at 7th November.
The most striking issue about the port visit is HS Navarinon’s arrival to a Turkish Naval Base amid conflicts at East Mediterranean. Hellenic Navy ships are not visiting Turkish ports so often. This visit is a bit surprising.
After finishing OSG mission, they are planned to participate Turkey-led INVITEX, Dogu Akdeniz-2019, between November 9 and 20.
Operation Sea Guardian :
NATO launched Operation Sea Guardian, aims to reinforce maritime situational awareness, counter-terrorism efforts including through the hailing and the boarding of suspect vessels, and capacity-building in the Mediterranean Sea. These tasks focus on gathering relevant information about current maritime activities in the Mediterranean region to help identify possible security concerns, and therefore continue to develop maritime security awareness in the region. Nevertheless, if the NAC so decides, the Operation can conduct any of the agreed four additional MSO tasks: uphold freedom of navigation, conduct maritime interdiction, fight the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and protect critical infrastructure.
Within the framework of Operation Sea Guardian, NATO supports the EU’s Operation Sophia with regard to information-sharing, logistical support and the implementation of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2357 (the arms embargo against Libya).
As such, the Mediterranean offers opportunities to deepen maritime cooperation at operational and tactical levels between NATO and the EU, building on previous experience and successes, in particular in the Indian Ocean and the Aegean Sea.