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Jun 28 2024

Greece hands over command of SNMCMG2 to Romania

SALAMIS NAVAL BASE, Greece – Hellenic Navy Captain Fotios Paraskevas has handed over command of Standing NATO Maritime Countermeasures Group 2 (SNMCMG2) to Romanian Navy Captain Sebastian Barote.  

The handover took place during a ceremony at the Salamis Naval Base in Greece on 28 June. 

Hellenic command of SNMCMG2 began in January 24, with the Task Group departing from La Spezia Naval Base, Italy. Hellenic flagship HS Heracles and her multinational staff sailed throughout the Mediterranean for a six-month period. They were underway for more than 2,000 hours, covering more than 11,000 nautical miles. Various ships and units served with the Task Group during the deployment. In total, nine minehunters from five different countries, one Croatian diving team, and more than 500 people from seven different navies have participated at various times. 

SNMCMG2 supported Operation Sea Guardian, increasing Maritime Situational Awareness, establishing patterns of life, and helping to secure freedom of navigation for all shipping, in close coordination with Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 (SNMG2).

SNMCMG2 took part in many exercises throughout the six-month tour. They included a small scale national Mine Counter Measures (MCM) exercise with the Spanish Navy (ACB 1/24), and 4 major scale MCM INVITEX exercises - namely Ariadne, Olive Noires, ESP MINEX and Mare Aperto/Polaris/ITA Minex 24. Greece, France, Spain and Italy hosted these exercises respectively, thereby enhancing operational readiness, interoperability and MCM capabilities between Allies. SNMCMG2 also collaborated with Allies to conduct five Passing Exercises (PASSEX), improving cooperation and interoperability. During ITA MINEX 24, near Cagliari, Italy, the Task Group demonstrated its operational capability by detecting, classifying and identifying 16 historic ordnances.

The Task Group also visited 21 ports, and opened its ships for visitors on three occasions, building relationships with Allied nations and promoting NATO diplomacy.

During the last weeks of the deployment, the Task Group worked alongside Allies Albania and Italy to monitor part of the underwater section of the Trans Adriatic Pipeline, demonstrating NATO’s continued commitment to monitor Critical Undersea Infrastructure.

At the beginning of your mission, it's hard to see how it will end,

said Captain Fotios Paraskevas as he handed over command. “You start by planning and setting goals, knowing that you have the full commitment and support of every member of the Task Group; without them nothing could be accomplished. In the end, the outcome is positive. SNMCMG2 is not just about names and numbers, but about values and ideals, represented by all, the previous and the following years. I now pass the baton to Romanian Command, and their relay race will begin. I want to thank every member who took part in this adventure under Hellenic Command.”

“This day represents a significant milestone for the Romanian Naval Forces and for myself as I assume the command of the Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group 2,” said Romanian Captain Sebastian Barote. “It is an honour and a privilege to take the lead of such a capable force and I can assure you that I will make all the necessary efforts to accomplish all tasks and responsibilities with professionalism and commitment."

Hellenic Navy Captain Fotios Paraskevas has handed over command of Standing NATO Maritime Countermeasures Group 2 (SNMCMG2) to Romanian Navy Captain Sebastian Barote.

SNMCMG2 operates under Allied Maritime Command (MARCOM), headquartered in Northwood, United Kingdom. MARCOM is the central command of all NATO maritime forces and the MARCOM commander is the primary maritime advisor to the Alliance.

Story by Public Affairs Office at MARCOM

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