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NATO Naval Forces Began Operations in the Black Sea

BLACK SEA – This weekend NATO ships assigned to Standing NATO Maritime Group One (SNMG1) and Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group Two (SNMCMG2) have arrived in the Black Sea, to train and operate with ships from the Bulgarian, Romanian, United States, Greek and Turkish Navies.

This training opportunity will begin with both groups participation in the Bulgarian lead Exercise BREEZE 2015, an annual Maritime exercise, based on a Crisis Response Operation scenario, which aims to enhance interoperability through practice between the host nation, invited nations and NATO units.  The exercise will also contribute to the reassurance of Black Sea nations by NATO.

Sponsored by the Bulgarian Navy, this exercise will involve 23 surface vessels and a Turkish submarine.  There are numerous air assets participating: organic rotary wing aircraft from naval units along with fixed wing aircraft from the Bulgarian Air Force.

Led by Rear Admiral Silvestre Correia (PRT Navy), SNMG1 is currently composed by the Flagship NRP D. Francisco de Almeida (F 334), HNLMS Tromp (F 803) and ROS Regele Ferdinand (F 221). SNMCMG2 is led by Captain Ramazan Kesgin (TUR Navy) since last Thursday and the Group is currently composed by the flagship TCG BARBAROS, TCG ENEZ and ROS ALEXANDRU AXENTE. These NATO maritime forces possesses substantial sea-control, anti-submarine, anti-air warfare and mine-warfare capabilities.

"This is a great opportunity to work with our Black Sea Allies and to operate in conjunction with SNMCMG2. The Black Sea is a key strategic area for the Alliance and NATO deeply values its partnerships with the nations in the region. I truly believe that our participation in exercise BREEZE 2015 with both NATO Groups will contribute for a better mutual understanding and knowledge of the maritime environment. NATO Forces and national navies conducting this multinational training will contribute to enhance our interoperability and to maintain the highest level of readiness with our Allied navies in the region.” said Alberto Correia.

SNMG1 and SNMCMG2 deployment into the Black Sea is conducted in full compliance of international conventions as a scheduled visit in support of training as well as emphasising the defensive nature of the Alliance. The Group will return to the Mediterranean later this month to resume patrols contributing to maritime situational awareness in the region.

SNMG1 and SNMCMG2 are two of the NATO’s four Standing Naval Maritime Groups, multinational integrated forces that project a constant and visible reminder of the Alliance’s solidarity and cohesion on the world’s seaways. These Forces provides NATO a continuous maritime capability for operations and other activities in peacetime and periods of crisis and conflicts. An immediate maritime response to an emerging crisis or maritime operational requirement may be provided by the Standing Naval Force (SNF) under the command of the Allied Maritime Command, based in Northwood, UK.

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