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Aug 9 2021


MEDITERRANEAN SEA – Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group Two (SNMCMG-2) visited Haifa (Israel) from 2nd of August to 5th of August 2021 and conducted a Passing Exercise (PASSEX) with Israeli Navy units in the vicinity of Haifa, Israel following a successful deployment in the Black Sea.

During the port visit to Haifa, workshops concerning firefighting, mine countermeasures operations and diving operations were provided to the Israeli Navy by SNMCMG2 staff and a Pre-Sail Conference carried out respectively.

Spanish Ambassador in Israel also visited the flagship ESPS Rayo under strict COVID-19 prevention measures. He was welcomed on board by COMSNMCMG2 Javier Núñez de Prado.


On 5 August, SNMCMG2 units and INS BAT-YAM departed Haifa port and executed a serialised schedule of exercises. The PASSEX concluded with a 'sail-past' to wish farewell to the units involved in the exercise.

The cooperation between NATO and partners like Israel, are essential to contribute to the security of the international community. Exchanging knowledge regarding equipment and procedures as well as exercising together, are essential tools to achieve interoperability and sustain cohesion between NATO and its partners.

NATO is committed to work with partner Nations, exploring training opportunities to improve interoperability skills in the maritime domain and thus contributing to Regional Maritime Security Capacity Building in the region.

SNMCMG2 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 on board and the ships of the Group as the nucleus, capable of providing timely support to NATO operations. SNMCMG2 is currently composed by ESPS Rayo (Flag Ship) and ITS Alghero.

Prior to the port visit, SNMCMG2 concluded 21 days of deployment in the Black Sea. During this deployment the group participated in Bulgarian led Exercise Breeze and worked together with Allied and Partner Navies including three Allied Black Sea nations, Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey. Exercise Breeze-21 helped improve readiness and interoperability within Allied navies in the region and resulted in six historical ordnances mapped in the Black Sea.

Story by Public Affairs Office at MARCOM

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