The operating area for NATO’s counter-terrorism task group, Standing NATO Maritime Group TWO (SNMG2), covers 2.5 million square kilometers of vast open space from Gibraltar to the Suez Canal, from the shores of Tripoli to the Turkish beaches. A NATO maritime force tasked with covering so much water relies on logistics support from multiple nations, ashore and afloat, to stay engaged in the vital counter-terrorism Operation Active Endeavor (OAE).
Last week three different NATO nations provided that support to SNMG2 ships during their deployment in the Mediterranean Sea: the U.S. Navy oiler USNS Rainier, the Greek oiler HS Prometheus, and the Turkish fleet support ship TCG Akar have delivered up to 800,000 liters of fuel to the SNMG2 ships, extending the endurance of the group and enhancing its support to OAE.
Smugglers try to blend in with existing transit routes and legitimate shipping patterns. By having ships out on patrol, NATO builds up knowledge of the normal patterns, facilitating the identification of anomalies that may be related to illicit activity.
Outstanding logistics support from all NATO countries is vital to ensuring the counter-terrorism task group remains at sea for greater periods of time, thus providing better coverage of the sea lanes and deterrence of shipping related to terrorist activity.