German tender ‘Rhein’ to become NATO SNMCMG2 flagship

German Navy tender FGS Rhein is departing its Kiel homeport on June 20 to head for the Mediterranean Sea where it will join NATO’s Standing Mine Countermeasures Group 2 (SNMCMG2).

FGS Rhein at its homeport. Photo: PIZ Marine

During its time in the Mediterranean and Black Sea, the 100-meter long Elbe-class replenishment ship will serve as flagship of the NATO mine countermeasures force.

Commanded by Corvette Captain Stefan Meier-Neuhold, the tender will serve as command platform for the SNMCMG2 commander, Frigate Captain Frank Maginsky.

Maginsky will assume command of the SNMCMG2 from the Royal Navy in a ceremony in the Greek port of Souda, Crete, on July 6.

Joined by mine countermeasure ships from a number of NATO-member countries, the SNMCMG2 will be taking part in exercises with regional navies in addition to the large-scale NATO maneuver Dynamic Move.

SNMCMG2 is one of four groups of ships which make up the maritime part of the NATO Reaction Force. The groups take part in different multinational exercises and train with NATO member states, allies and partners to enhance interoperability and maintain warfighting skills.

FGS Rhein is deploying with SNMCMG2 after spending five months as part of the EU-led operation Sophia in 2017. During this deployment, Rhein rescued 2.100 persons from unseaworthy vessels on their route from the Libyan coast to Italy and intercepted a Libyan-flagged vessel smuggling several types of weapons including machine guns, AK47 rifles, RPG bullets, RPG launchers, mortar grenades and ammunition.