Five ships assigned to Standing NATO Maritime Group Two (SNMG2) reached on Saturday morning the Naval Station Varna at the Black Sea coast to take part in joint training with Bulgarian, Romanian and Turkish vessels.
As a result of the gale-force winds, most of the ships failed to drop anchor, with the exception of ITS ALISEO (Italy). Bulgaria will deploy its frigate Drazki for the exercise, which is due on March 9, Defense Ministry officials say.
Led by Rear Admiral Brad Williamson (USA N), SNMG2 is currently comprised of the flagship USS Vicksburg (CG 69), HMCS Fredericton (FFH 337), TCG Turgutreis (F 241), FGS Spessart (A 1442), ITS Aliseo (F 574), and ROS Regina Maria (F 222).
The NATO vessels are part of the Second Standing NATO Maritime Group (SNMG-2) which includes a total of eight vessels of NATO countries and is involved in a continuous program of operational training. It also makes port calls in many ports in both NATO and non-NATO nations in and out of the Mediterranean.
“Our Sailors are excited to visit Varna and to interact with the people who represent this city and nation,” said Rear Admiral Williamson. “More importantly, we are looking forward to getting back underway and training with the professional mariners of the Bulgarian Navy.”