EU, NATO agencies discuss closer cooperation in the Med

The commanders of NATO’s operation Sea Guardian and EU-led operation Sophia met at sea on February 24 to discuss closer tactical level coordination and information sharing in the central Mediterranean Sea.

The task group commander for NATO’s maritime security operation Sea Guardian (OSG) visited the European Union operation Sophia force commander onboard the Op Sophia flagship ITS San Giusto.

During the meeting EUNAVFOR Med operation Sophia force commander, Rear Admiral Alberto Maffeis (ITA N), and OSG task group commander, Commander Francisco Javier Vázquez Sanz (ESP N), discussed options to further strengthen the linkages and information sharing networks that support both OSG and Op SOPHIA.

Continuous information exchange and coordination with operation Sophia assets has increased the efficiency of the operation as well as the area that can be covered. NATO and EU share daily situation reports and sailing intentions as well as schedules for air, surface and submarine operations. Sharing this information prevents duplication in tasks and helps build a bigger picture of maritime activities in the central Mediterranean.

NATO ships, aircraft and submarines are conducting focused patrols in the central and western Mediterranean February 12 to March 4 to collect information and monitor patterns-of-life to detect suspicious activities at sea.

Operation Sea Guardian is a NATO Non-Article 5 operation implemented in response to the evolving maritime security environment in the Mediterranean. Maritime situational awareness information is reported to its reach back headquarters, the Allied Maritime Command in Northwood and after compiled and processed, is shared among the allied and partners’ navies and the European Union operation Sophia.

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