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Naval assets supporting NATO’s Operation Sea Guardian (OSG) conducted a focused patrol in October and November in the Eastern Mediterranean to deter illegal activities including terrorism. NATO warships and submarines from Bulgaria, Romania, Turkey, Greece and Italy carried our maritime situational awareness (MSA) and capacity building tasks during the patrol, supported by airborne early warning (AEW) and maritime patrol aircraft (MPA). 

An exercise for standby units supporting OSG was also conducted from 23 to 27 October in the Eastern Mediterranean. The Turkish frigate TCG Gaziantep and a Task Unit of the Special Operations Coordination and Control Element (SOCCE) of the Turkish Navy exercised an opposed boarding operation of a suspicious vessel.

Photos from CRYSTAL SEA 2019

NATO’s Allied Maritime Command (MARCOM), based in Northwood, United Kingdom, supported the exercise from their Maritime Operations Centre (MOC). As a part of the regional cooperation with “Mediterranean

Dialogue” partner nations, OSG units also conducted a medical evacuation (MEDVAC) exercise with Israel on 31 October, codenamed CRYSTAL SEA 2019. Medical assistance from the Greek flagship of the OSG task group, HS Navarinon, was requested to Israel for the evacuation of a crew member injured with a serious wound to Rambam Hospital in Haifa for surgical treatment. The exercise was conducted to enhance operational flexibility in the Eastern Mediterranean between NATO and Israel.

Story by NATO Shipping Centre Office

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