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Operational Handover in the Aegean Sea

Operational Handover in the Aegean Sea

Souda Bay, Greece – On Sunday, Vice Admiral Bruno Paulmier, French Navy, Deputy Commander Allied Maritime Command (MARCOM) presided over the Operational Handover Ceremony of Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 (SNMG2) from Rear Admiral Klein, German Navy to Rear Admiral Schöenbach, German Navy.
Since February, SNMG 2 commanded by Rear Admiral Jöerg Klein, German Navy, has been operating in the Aegean Sea to support international efforts to cut the lines of human trafficking and illegal migration in the region. SNMG2 provides real-time information to the Turkish and Greek authorities and the European Union’s border agency FRONTEX, assisting in this common efforts to tackle this humanitarian crisis.

During the handover ceremony, Rear Admiral Klein took the opportunity to express his gratitude for his multinational staff and the men and women in his flagship, FGS BONN. "Our commitment here is working”, he upholds the intention associated with the job. "The exchange of information and cooperation at sea work excellently. I thank you for your support.”
Addressing the crews of FGS BONN and FGS KARLSRUHE, Vice Admiral Bruno Paulmier highlighted that the numbers of refugees as well as the number of fatalities within the Aegean operations area declined significantly. "This also goes back to your work here at sea”, said Paulmier – and added: "You are the eyes and ears of Allied Maritime Command in the Aegean Sea, without you it does not work”. He praised and thanked the outgoing commander for a job well done commanding the Standing NATO Maritime Group in the Aegean Sea.

Rear Admiral Schöenbach, the new Commander of SNMG 2, is a naval officer with a vast amount of operational expertise. The 50-year old father of three held various distinguished appointments including Commanding Officer of a frigate and Commander of a Frigate Squadron.

At the end of the time-honoured Change of Command, the NATO flag was lowered in the old flagship, FGS BONN. The flag is flying proudly again – now in the new flagship FGS KARLSRUHE. SNMG2 is composed by the flagship FGS KARLSRUHE and TGS BODRUM, HS PSARA, RFA CARDIGAN BAY, HS AITTITOS, HS KRATEOS and USNS GRAPPLE.

SNMG2 is one of four multinational, high readiness maritime forces composed of vessels from various allied countries. These vessels are permanently available to NATO to perform different tasks ranging from participation in exercises to operational missions. These groups provide NATO with a continuous maritime capability and help to establish Alliance presence, demonstrate solidarity, conduct routine diplomatic visits and enhance interoperability among Allied naval forces. They also serve as a consistently ready maritime force to support the NATO Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF).

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