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NATO’s Operation Sea Guardian Patrols the Mediterranean

MEDITERRANEAN SEA - NATO ships supported by submarines provided by Turkey, Italy, Romania, Spain and Greece in cooperation with maritime patrol and airborne early warning aircraft, conducted a focused security patrol in the central and eastern Mediterranean Sea October 3 to 17, 2018.

The focused patrol Task Group was led by the Captain Erdinc Altiner (Turkish Navy) and included the flagship, Turkish frigate TCG YAVUZ, the Italian frigate ITS SCIROCCO and the Romanian frigate ROS REGELE FERDINAND, all three of them supported by ship-based helicopters. Leadership and effective coordination of all assets involved throughout the security patrols was pivotal for designed achievements.

The operation focused on gathering pattern of life information and observing maritime traffic, and observing any suspicious activity at sea which might be related to terrorist related activities. The units monitored more than 800 vessels and hailed more than 60 ships while patrolling in the area. The Task Group conducted one boarding and search of a suspected merchant vessel and 8 friendly visits to fishing vessels to gather detailed information on suspicious activities from local mariners.

Support and cooperation from maritime patrol aircraft and airborne early warning aircraft enabled the ships to maintain a multi-domain view of maritime activities. Submarines also provided information on suspicious vessels which was relayed to OSG ships and the NATO Maritime Headquarters for further investigation. Coordination and information sharing with EU’s Operation Sophia further enhanced the efficiency and effectiveness of this focused operation.

In all, this joint focused security patrol brought effectively together assets and capabilities above, on and below the surface of the central and eastern Mediterranean Sea to significantly improve the understanding of maritime activities within the designated patrol areas.

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