Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 (SNMG2) ships arrived in Aksaz today for a port visit and to prepare for the Turkish Navy led Exercise MAVI BALINA.
ATLANTIC OCEAN – The German Navy's oldest commissioned ship, GORCH FOCK (A 60), took a moment to bid farewell to Standing NATO Maritime Group TWO (SNMG2) German ship FGS NIEDERSACHSEN as the latter nears the end of its final deployment.
"To meet the GORCH FOCK is always a very special moment for us," said NIEDERSACHSEN Commanding Officer Cmdr. Kurt Leonards. "She is one of the prettiest ships in the world and always an eye-catcher."
NIEDERSACHSEN is currently serving with SNMG2, one of four Standing Naval Forces assigned to NATO Allied Maritime Command. She was commissioned in 1982 and is currently the second oldest commissioned ship in the German Navy. She is one of eight BREMEN-class frigates, ships built primarily for anti-submarine warfare, but also well suited for anti-aircraft and anti-surface warfare.
The BREMEN-class frigates have a long history of defense, escorting convoys and resupply ships to Allied forces in Europe during the Cold War, supporting the European Union's counter-piracy Operation ATALANTA, the United Nation's Interim Force in Lebanon and counter-terrorism activities during Operation ENDURING FREEDOM. They have long been the backbone of the German Navy.
GORCH FOCK has a different mission. Built in 1958 to provide training to officer candidates, its primary intention is to promote peaceful international understanding and education. The 266-foot long vessel is manned by approximately 115 German Navy officer cadets on a rotational basis, whose responsibility is to maintain, operate, and steer the ship. The complement is supervised by 100 experienced Sailors who provide guidance, intervening when necessary.
All German officers must complete six weeks of training aboard GORCH FOCK within the first six months of their careers. All of the officers currently aboard NIEDERSACHSEN began their careers training in GORCH FOCK. The sail training ship is a sister ship to U.S. Coast Guard Barque, Eagle (WIX 327), which was built in the same German shipyard.
When the two vessels met at sea, GORCH FOCK was on its way to Malaga, Spain, as a part of its normal educational mission and NIEDERSACHSEN was transiting to the Alboran Sea to continue support to NATO's counter-terrorism Operation ACTIVE ENDEAVOUR.