NATO Mine Counter-Measures Group Visits Morocco
CASABLANCA, Morocco – This morning, seven NATO ships assigned to Standing NATO Mine Counter-Measures Group TWO (SNMCMG2) arrived in Casablanca for a scheduled port visit, during the Group's deployment to the Mediterranean to enhance maritime security and readiness, and in support of NATO counter-terrorism Operation ACTIVE ENDEAVOUR.
Led by Captain Giovanni Piegaja, (ITA N), SNMCMG2 is currently composed of the flagship Italian frigate ITS AVIERE and the minehunters FGS HOMBURG (Germany), TCG ERDEK (Turkey), HS EVROPI (Greece), ESPS DUERO (Spain), HMS GRIMSBY (UK), and BNS GODETIA (Belgium).
Since Italy assumed command of SNMCMG2 in June, the Group has patrolled in the Black Sea and Mediterranean Sea, conducting mine counter-measures activities and contributing to maritime situational awareness with regard to counter-terrorism operations.
In order to build upon the operational framework offered by the port visit, Chief of Staff, NATO Allied Maritime Command, Rear Admiral Giorgio Lazio is meeting with Moroccan leadership, to include Vice Admiral Mohamed Laghmari, Inspector of the Royal Moroccan Navy, to discuss numerous issues of shared importance with the privileged partner of NATO, to include operation Active Endeavour, mutually beneficial training opportunities, and partnership within the Mediterranean Dialogue framework.
During the port visit, the Group will share its experiences in mine warfare operations with Royal Moroccan Navy officers and cadets and participate in activities designed to enhance understanding and friendship between the Royal Moroccan Navy and NATO Sailors. Captain Piegaja will also meet with the Mayor of Casablanca.
Upon conclusion of the port visit, SNMCMG2 will participate in a passing exercise and tactical navigation exercise with Royal Moroccan Navy ships, while embarking Sailors to observe the exercises from aboard the NATO ships. These activities at sea are designed to enhance interoperability and familiarity between naval partners.
"We greatly value our partnership with the Royal Moroccan Navy, and we look forward to establishing new opportunities for cooperation at sea and ashore," said Captain Piegaja. "I hope this visit can help to further strengthen NATO's relationship with this key player in regional maritime security."