Search our content

Home  /  Media Centre  /  News  /  2024  /  NATO ships join US 6th Fleet and Royal Navy to support Ukraine Navy during Ex Sea Breeze 24

Jun 26 2024

NATO ships join US 6th Fleet and Royal Navy to support Ukraine Navy during Ex Sea Breeze 24

GLASGOW, Scotland - In a demonstration of international solidarity and commitment to supporting the Ukrainian navy, mine countermeasures exercise Sea Breeze 2024 has begun. The exercise is led jointly by the US 6th Fleet and the Ukrainian navy, hosted by the Royal Navy and involves NATO and international partners.  

The purpose of the exercise is to address the challenges that mines pose to maritime safety and security, global food security and commerce. It focuses on the integration and command and control of Mine Countermeasure Vessels and a Ukrainian task group HQ augmented by international staff officers and mentors.

Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group 1 (SNMCMG1) is taking part in the exercise with three ships; German flagship FGS Donau, French ship FS Céphée and Estonian ship ENS Ugandi. They will be joined by Urkainian ships Cherkasy and Chernihiv, originally Royal Navy minehunters which were donated by the UK.

Personnel from Bulgaria, Estonia, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Japan, Poland, Romania, Sweden, Ukraine, the United States, and the United Kingdom are also participating, many as observers and mentors to the Ukraine staff. 

The Opening Ceremony was held on the 24 June at Glasgow’s George V Dock. Led by US Navy Commander Bill Williams, Commander of COMSIXTHFLT Mine Countermeasures Detachment (CTG 68.3), the event marked the official start of Exercise Sea Breeze 24. It was also an invaluable platform for senior officers from the US, Ukraine, NATO, and the UK to address the participants, and highlight the collective efforts to enhance Ukrainian Navy mine countermeasure capabilities.

Distinguished guests included US Navy Captain Geoffrey Townsend (Commodore, CTF68), Ukrainian Navy Commodore Dmytro Kovalenko, US Navy Rear Admiral Thomas Wall (Commander NATO Submarines) and Royal Navy Commodore Steven Banfield.

The exercise will allow participating nations to improve their interoperability with their closest Allies and Partners.

The exercise takes place from 24 June to 5 July, in the vicinity of Arran, Campbeltown, and the Northern Minches, off the coast of Scotland. During this time, participating nations will refine their mine countermeasures tactics, techniques, and procedures.

This year is the 23rd iteration of Sea Breeze. The exercise was first held in 1997, and underscores Allied long-standing commitment to maritime security and cooperation

During his address, Rear Admiral Thomas Wall said,
Exercise Sea Breeze is more than a military exercise; it’s a symbol of our unity and commitment since 1997. Jointly spearheaded by the US Sixth Fleet and Ukraine maritime forces, hosted by the Royal Navy, and backed by NATO Maritime Command, we are all dedicated to enhancing Ukrainian Mine countermeasure capabilities.
NATO ships join US 6th Fleet and Royal Navy to support Ukraine Navy during Ex Sea Breeze 24 

This exercise not only showcases the operational capabilities and readiness of the participating forces, but reinforces the international community’s unwavering support for Ukraine. As Sea Breeze 2024 unfolds, it will undoubtedly strengthen maritime security and foster deeper cooperation among NATO Allies and Partners.

Story by Public Affairs Office at MARCOM.

Photo credits to the Portuguese Navy.

Search our content:


HQ Allied Maritime Command
MARCOM Records Centre
Information Management Branch
Northwood HQ, Atlantic Building
Sandy Lane, Northwood HA6 3HP
United Kingdom

Media Operations

Public Affairs Office
Atlantic Building, Northwood HQ