Multinational exchange between units of Standing NATO Maritime Group 2
Mediterranean Sea – Units from several different nations are sailing together as Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 (SNMG2). Fostering and strengthening the personal and professional relationships between the sailors of the ships is essential for a mutual understanding and good cooperation. In the different navies it is a well-known tradition aboard warships to exchange personnel in a so-called "Cross Pollination” (X-Poll).
Currently the ships of SNMG2 are operating under the mandate of NATO Article V counter-terrorism Operation ACTIVE ENDEAVOUR. X-Polls are usually conducted before leaving ports prior to short at-sea periods. However, when possible and if it can be accommodated during operations, the units close one another and launch their speedboats for personnel exchange. It is an impressive event when the ships leave their "boxes” and the force assembles in the middle of the operation area.
Then a well-coordinated speedboat ballet begins. This time SNMG2 units from Canada, Germany, Spain and Turkey could arrange for this meeting and each exchanged up to five sailors for the following days at sea. In addition, sailors from the last X-Poll were recovered from their host ships.
To shorten the duration of the X-Poll transfers, three speedboats from the force were laid into the water. Sailors from each of the four nations climbed into the speedboats and were ferried to their exchange ship. For many of them, the ride at sea in the speedboat and the view as they approach these big grey ships is an adventure in itself. Afterwards climbing the rope ladder out of a moving speedboat is not only an adventure, but also a challenge for some of them.