As part of their visit to Tunisia, the flagship Hellenic Navy frigate Salamis carried out a passing exercise with vessels from the Tunisian Navy on Thursday.
Operation Sea Guardian is a non-Article 5 maritime security operation of NATO aimed at working with Mediterranean stakeholders and partners to maintain maritime situational awareness, deter and counter terrorism and enhance capacity building.
This focused patrol focused on the Central Mediterranean, and was supported by aircrafts, ships and submarines from Greece, Croatia, Italy and Turkey. Turkish and Spanish special operations forces supported in stand-by under the OSG Special Operations Command and Control Element (SOCCE). Due to COVID measures, all in-person interactions were scaled down to protect the crew and the mission.
With each OSG focused engagement, NATO seeks to further develop our partnerships so that they continue to meet the interests of both Allies and partners. Over the last few years, the number of partner units certified and evaluated to NATO standards has increased, new partners have joined interoperability programmes, and opportunities for partner participation in NATO exercises have been widened. These relationships offer valuable opportunities to prevent conflicts and develop regional security and stability through dialogue, confidence-building, and increased transparency.
Tunisia, partnership with which falls under NATO's Mediterranean Dialogue, has a long-lasting cooperation with NATO. The objectives are, for both sides, to enhance interoperability, improving maritime security and deterring potential terrorist threats at sea.
As part of operational testing, on 17 March, NATO Maritime Command's Maritime Air division facilitated an interaction between the Greek flagship and the NATO Allied Ground Surveillance (AGS) remotely piloted aircraft. In the future these aircraft are expected to substantially increase Alliance's awareness, indications and warnings of what is happening around its borders.
This Operation remains one of the most important tools for NATO projecting stability throughout the Mediterranean Sea and sustaining maritime situational awareness. Focused patrols of NATO's Operation Sea Guardian help NATO maintain an accurate maritime picture of daily activity in the focused areas of the Mediterranean Sea and is an opportunity to increase cooperation and interoperability.