NATO groups in Black Sea make port calls in Bulgaria

NATO ships from two maritime groups currently operating in the Black Sea entered two Bulgarian port cities for weekend port calls.

On February 10, three warships from Standing NATO Maritime Group Two (SNMG2) arrived in Varna, Bulgaria, as part of their routine Black Sea patrol.

Led by Royal Navy Commodore Mike Utley OBE from onboard the group flagship, Type 45 destroyer HMS Duncan, SNMG2 comprises Turkish frigate TCG Gaziantep and Romanian frigate ROS Regele Ferdinand.

On departure from Varna, the Group will conduct manoeuvres with elements of the Bulgarian Navy.

Following their previous port visit in Romania, SNMG2 and Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group Two (SNMCMG2) completed exercises with the Romanian Navy, increasing interoperability and practicing skills including air defense, advanced navigation, communications and mine neutralization.

Three NATO ships currently conducting patrols in the Black Sea will.

Standing NATO Mine Counter Measures Group Two (SNMCMG2), the other NATO group in the Black Sea arrived in Burgas on February 9 for a two-day port call. This task group consists of the Flag Ship HMS Enterprise (a Royal Navy Survey vessel), TCG Akcay (a Turkish mine hunter) and ROS Lt. Lupu Dinescu (a Romanian Minesweeper).

“I consider it a privilege to visit Varna and to have the opportunity to work alongside the Bulgarian Navy,” said SNMG2 Commander, Commodore Mike Utley, “It is essential that we maintain a close relationship in order to ensure a strong NATO maritime presence in the international waters of the Black Sea.”