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NATO SNMCMG2 Completes Black Sea Deployment

Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group 2 (SNMCMG2) recently completed its third deployment into the Black Sea, according to a NATO news release. SNMCMG2, under the command of Turkish navy Capt. Ramazan Kesgin, began its deployment July 8 to demonstrate NATO’s resolve and commitment to collective defense, and to enhance regional maritime security.

SNMCMG2 included the flagship TCG Cezayirli Gazi Hasan Pasa (Turkey) and the mine counter-measures vessels TCG Edincik (Turkey), ESPS Turia (Spain) and ROS Slt. Alexandru Axente (Romania).

“I’m confident … that conducting exercises in various Black Sea countries in such a cooperative, professional and multinational manner will … strengthen our ability to preserve maritime security.”

SNMCMG2 participated in the Bulgarian-led Exercise Breeze 2016 conducted in Bulgarian territorial waters, while in the Black Sea. Based on a crisis response operation scenario, the exercise built interoperability among the Bulgarian, Greek, Italian, Polish, Romanian, Turkish, and American units and personnel that participated in the exercise.

“This exercise has permitted increased mutual knowledge of allied nations and enhances the interoperability among participants’ units of diverse characteristics. The exercise covered a variety of areas such as maneuvering, asymmetric threat, damage control, and mine warfare,” said Spanish navy Lt. Cmdr. Enrique García Morera, commanding officer of ESPS Turia. “In the particular case of SNMCMG2, the exercise has allowed improve group cohesion, whereas the units get training in mine countermeasures operations an asymmetric threat environment.”

SNMCMG2 Sea Shield

SNMCMG2 ships participate in Exercise Sea Shield 2016 in the Black Sea. NATO MARCOM HQ photo

SNMCMG2 also participated in Exercise Sea Shield 2016 in Romanian territorial and international waters in the Black Sea. Sea Shield was a Romanian navy-led maritime anti-submarine exercise open to NATO and Partnership for Peace (PfP) nations, and was also based on a crisis response operation scenario. NATO Standing Maritime Group 2 (SNMG2) units from Canada and Poland, as well as Bulgarian and Ukrainian units, also participated in the exercise.

“During our Black Sea deployment, we as always remained fully prepared to undertake any mission that might be required for NATO to meet its obligations for collective defense.”

“I’m very honored to spend almost a month in the Black Sea, in order to contribute to peace and to enhance NATO’s presence in these waters,” said Lt. Erhan Ege, commanding officer of TCG Edincik. “I’m confident … that conducting exercises in various Black Sea countries in such a cooperative, professional and multinational manner will … strengthen our ability to preserve maritime security.”

“By conducting these exercises and the deployment, SNMCMG2 showed its eagerness to carry a strong message to [the] Bulgarian and Romanian people and to all allied nations regarding NATO’s resolve and commitment to collective defense,” said Capt. Kesgin. “During our Black Sea deployment, we as always remained fully prepared to undertake any mission that might be required for NATO to meet its obligations for collective defense.”