Operation Sea Guardian boarding conducted
AEGEAN SEA (April 6, 2017) – A boarding team from Turkish Navy ship TCG Beykoz conducted a visit of MV Joy K today as part of NATO's Operation Sea Guardian while the ships were in international waters in the Aegean Sea.
TCG Beykoz and its boarding team were activated by Allied Maritime Command (MARCOM) in response to information regarding MV Joy K, a commercial vessel flagged by the Republic of Sierra Leone.
The boarding was conducted to verify cargo and documentation during the ship's transit of international waters. Once the boarding team confirmed the cargo and documentation were in compliance with international shipping requirements, the merchant vessel was allowed to continue to its next port. The visit was conducted with the consent of the flag state, and was in full compliance with international law.
"Maritime security in the Mediterranean benefits all nations using the international waterway," said Vice Admiral Bruno Paulmier, MARCOM Deputy Commander, "Boardings like this one help NATO to further investigate possible security concerns before they develop into anything more serious. It's a concrete example of tactical actions supporting Allied security on NATO's southern flank."
NATO ships participating in Operation Sea Guardian conduct patrol missions in the Mediterranean Sea, during which they monitor maritime traffic in order to detect and discourage illegal activities that pose a threat to security. In this case, the ship's unusual activities were not determined to pose a security threat.
One of the main activities of Operation Sea Guardian is Maritime Situational Awareness (MSA), by which, merchant ships may be hailed while transiting the Mediterranean and asked to identify themselves and what they are doing. This information is reported back to Allied Maritime Command which is the information coordination centre for Operation Sea Guardian. If the ship's response is suspicious or unusual the ship may be identified as a potential security concern. In some cases the ship may be visited by boarding teams under NATO operational control. In other cases, the information may be passed to relevant authorities for possible action.