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United Kingdom takes command of NATO Task Group from Germany

SOUDA BAY,  Greece - On the 30th of June the UK took command of the Standing NATO Maritime Task Group 2 (SNMG2) at a ceremony at Souda Bay Naval Station on the Greek Island of Crete.

Rear Admiral Axel Deertz (German Navy) has been in command of the Task Group for six months and has handed command to Commodore James Morley (Royal Navy). During the ceremony HMS Duncan also took over the role of Task Group flagship from FGS Brandenberg.

The Task Group is made up of ships from a number of different NATO nations and has three main roles. The first role is to remain at a very high state of readiness should a reaction be needed to a military or humanitarian crisis. It can never be predicted what events or emerging threats may arise but the Task Group would be the first on call and ready to respond. To do this the Task Group conducts a series of exercises that are designed to ensure that the group has a good understanding of its capabilities. The Task Group is then able to operate as a combined, effective NATO force.

A second role for the Task Group is to deter illegal migration. Traffickers are exploiting migrants by selling them the idea that the journey to Europe by sea is easily achievable. This is not the case as the Mediterranean and Aegean seas can be as dangerous to cross as the Atlantic or Pacific. To deter illegal migrant trafficking, the Task Group is working with the EU Border Force, Greek and Turkish coastguards.

Third, the task group will conduct a series of engagement visits to partner nations to reinforce friendships and to support NATO Allies. During these visits NATO is able to share ideas, train and improve security at sea. All nations have the right to use the high seas, the Task Group seeks to protect this right.

During Commodore Morley’s time in command the Royal Navy will also command a further NATO Task Group responsible for mine countermeasures. This other group will be commanded from HMS Enterprise. By taking command of SNMG2 in HMS Duncan, the UK will command two of the four NATO maritime groups. This demonstrates the United Kingdom’s significant contribution to NATO and its commitment to the collective defence of NATO nations.

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