Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group 2 (SNMCMG2) has completed its third deployment into the Black Sea under the command of Captain Ramazan Kesgin, Turkish Navy. SNMCMG2 started its deployment on July 8 in support of NATO’s assurance measures regarding Alliance resolve and commitment to collective defense, and to enhance maritime security in the region.
SNMCMG2 included the flagship TCG CEZAYIRLI GAZI HASAN PASA (Turkey) and the mine counter-measures vessels TCG EDINCIK (Turkey), ESPS TURIA (Spain) and the ROS SLT. ALEXANDRU AXENTE (Romania).
While in the Black Sea, SNMCMG2 participated in the Bulgarian lead exercise “BREEZE 2016” in vicinity of Burgas, Bulgaria and Bulgarian territorial waters. “BREEZE” is an exercise based on a Crisis Response Operation scenario and builds interoperability among the NATO units. Units and personnel from Greece, Italy
, Poland, Romania, Turkey, the United States joined
Bulgarian Navy during 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 Lieutenant-Commander Enrique García Morera (Spanish Navy), Commanding Officer of ESPS TURIA. “In the particular case of the SNMCMG2, the exercise has allowed improve group cohesion, whereas the units get training in mine countermeasures operations an asymmetric threat environment.”
SNMCMG2’s second planned activity was exercise “SEA SHIELD 2016” in vicinity of Constanta, Romania in Romanian territorial and international waters in the Black Sea. “SEA SHIELD” is a Romanian Navy led maritime antisubmarine exercise also based on a Crisis Response Operation scenario and open to NATO and Partnership for Peace (PfP) nations. Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 units from Canada and Poland also participated in this exercise. NATO units were joined by Bulgarian and Ukrainian units in support to this Romanian Navy exercise.
“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 Lieutenant Erhan Ege, commanding officer of TCG EDINCIK. “I’m confident to think that conducting exercises in various Black Sea countries in such a cooperative, professional and multinational manner, will lead to strengthen our ability to preserve maritime security.”
Both exercises contributed to increased interoperability levels and mutual understanding among the allied countries which have contributed to these exercises.
The exercises provided opportunities for the planners and first-rate training for the crews of all NATO participating units including Bulgaria and Romania as host nations. The SNMCMG2 deployment was conducted in full transparency and full compliance with international regulation and specifically the Montreux Convention.
According with Captain Ramazan Kesgin, “By conducting these exercises and the deployment, SNMCMG2 showed its eagerness to carry on strong message to Bulgarian and Romanian people and to all Allied Nations regarding NATO`s resolve and commitment to collective defense.” Captain Kesgin concluded adding that “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.”