The comprehensive live exercise meticulously tested and validated existing procedures, emphasizing the importance of a command and control structure. In adherence to international maritime law, the Allied Maritime Command executed the Flag State Consent Request process through NATO’s Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE), ensuring legitimacy while conducting a lawful inspection of cargo on the high seas.
Following weeks of detailed planning, a highly skilled team from the Turkish Maritime SOF under control of SOCCE in Türkiye, assigned to Operation Sea Guardian, embarked on the Turkish frigate TCG GOKOVA and boarded the M/V BLUEFISH. This fictitious scenario involved the vessel simulating suspected of engaging in illegal activities related to terrorism.
The SOF team assumed control of the vessel, conducting a thorough inspection of documentation, searching the cargo, and securing any identified terrorists on board. The NATO Shipping Centre was pivotal in coordinating with the merchant industry, providing invaluable support to execute the exercise in a near-real scenario.
Highlighting the collaborative nature of this exercise, the Turkish Navy's support was instrumental in its overall success. The multinational staff of SOCCE in Türkiye, tasked with conducting Maritime Special Operations in the Mediterranean Sea in support of HQ MARCOM within the mandate of Operation Sea Guardian, demonstrated its ability to take command of assigned Special Forces during operations.
This advanced capability exemplifies the contributions NATO nations make to the alliance, particularly in Operation Sea Guardian's mission to safeguard peace and stability in the Mediterranean Sea
A team from the Turkish Maritime Special Operations Force under the control of Special Operations Command and Control Element (SOCCE) in Türkiye, embarked on the Turkish frigate TCG GOKOVA to execute a boarding on the M/V BLUEFISH during NATO’s Operation Sea Guardian SOF activation exercise.
"This exercise demonstrates NATO's readiness and resolve to tackle the most challenging operations, effectively countering a broad spectrum of threats to the maritime domain," said Rear Admiral Stefan Pauly, Commander, Surface Forces NATO. "This advanced capability exemplifies the contributions NATO nations make to the alliance, particularly in Operation Sea Guardian's mission to safeguard peace and stability in the Mediterranean Sea”.
OSG is a collaborative, year-round maritime security operation designed to maintain Maritime Situational Awareness, deter and counter-terrorism activity, and build capacity and interoperability among NATO Allies and partners.