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Dec 5 2020

NATO Commander visits Standing NATO Maritime Group 1

PLYMOUTH, United Kingdom – Commander of NATO Maritime Command, Vice Admiral Keith Blount visited the flagship of Standing NATO Maritime Group One (SNMG1) on Friday, 4 December 2020.

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Portuguese-led SNMG1 arrived in the port of Devenport in Plymouth after a long deployment in the Arctic. The visit is intended for fuel and resupply for several days, before heading south to Portugal later in the month.

SNMG1 has been on the forefront of some of our most impactful operations and exercises this year

"I would like to express my sincere thanks to Commodore Mirones and his team. This has been a challenging year for us all, but especially the sailors who have been carrying out the NATO mission at sea every day without fail", said Vice Admiral Blount. "SNMG1 has been on the forefront of some of our most impactful operations and exercises this year, once again re-affirming NATO commitment to the areas of the Baltic Sea, the Arctic and all the Northern territories that fall under our area of responsibility," he added.

During the visit, Commander had a chance to receive briefings from the Group and discuss passed and upcoming assignments, as well as threats and opportunities NATO faces in the North.

"North Atlantic is vital for the security of Europe," said Commodore Jose Antonio Mirones, Commander of Standing NATO Maritime Group One. "To keep SNMG1 continuously available I believe we must keep a warfighting mindset: effectively preparing for the high end of the conflict will support and enable our ability to operate in the low end. Ensuring the health and safety of our sailors was always vital: as the outbreak of COVID-19 is showing, uncertainty and friction are as real in peacetime as they are in war and we learned, adapted and improved by the day and by the hour aiming to keep SNMG1 ready and committed."

Previously to the Group's visit to the UK, SNMG1 participated in the Norwegian exercise Flotex Silver in the North of the Alliance, above the Arctic circle.

The group is currently composed of two vessels – Portuguese frigate Corte Real (flagship) and Canadian vessel Toronto.

SNMG1 is one of four standing forces that comprise the maritime component of the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF), which is part of the NATO Response Force (NRF). To respond to contingency situations additional forces can be added to these groups, with the NATO command staff onboard and the ships of the group as the nucleus, capable of providing timely support to NATO operations.

Story by Public Affairs Office at MARCOM

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