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NATO Mine Countermeasures Group 2 Visits Algeria
ALGIERS, Algeria – Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group Two (SNMCMG2) completed a port visit to Algiers, Algeria as part of the group’s annual schedule of activities on Thursday, Oct 20, 2016.
The port visit served to strengthen cooperation, boost mutual understanding and promote the exchange of information in areas of mutual benefit to Algeria and NATO. Algeria has been a member of NATO’s Mediterranean Dialogue Programme since 2000 and Standing NATO Maritime Groups have regularly visited Algiers in the past few years.
In parallel to these efforts and to highlight this important cooperation, the Deputy Commander of NATO Allied Maritime Command, Vice Admiral Bruno Paulmier (French Navy) met with the Deputy Chief of Algerian Naval Forces, Major General Mahfoud Benmeddah and other Navy officials. The leaders discussed opportunities for Algerian Naval Forces to work with NATO in a variety of tactical and operational level activities.
SNMCMG2 is commanded by Captain Panagiotis Papageorgiou, Hellenic Navy, aboard the flagship, HS Aliakmon (Hellenic Navy). Apart the flagship the group is composed by two other mine hunters, FGS Fulda (German Navy) and TCG Amasra (Turkish Navy), respectively. Additionally, while not part of the group, Spanish Navy patrol boat ESPS Infanta Cristina.
The crews of the ships participated in multiple activities ashore to build on the ongoing relationship between NATO and Algeria. After getting underway on Thursday, all four NATO ships participated in naval training exercises with Algerian Naval Forces to practice working together, build trust and enhance mutual understanding.
SNMCMG2 is part of the NATO Response Force, which can be deployed where the alliance requires. They train and work together throughout the year and participate in exercises conducted by the Alliance and other member nations. SNMCMG2’s main task is to defend maritime passages from the threat of mines. In addition, the group is responsible for historic ordnance disposal operations contributing to make allied and partners nation waters safe and improve maritime security.