Danish support ship HDMS Esbern Snare becomes new SNMG1 flagship

Royal Danish Navy support ship HDMS Esbern Snare became the new flagship of NATO’s Standing Maritime Group 1 (SNMG1), taking over from fellow Danish warship HDMS Niels Juel.

Illustration: Frigate HDMS Niels Juel (F363) sails together with other SNMG1 and US Navy units during BALTOPS 2018. Photo: US Navy

The change of command ceremony took place in Frederikshavn, Denmark, on July 10 and further saw Commodore Carsten Fjord-Larsen assume command of Standing NATO Maritime Group One (SNMG1) from Commodore Søren Thinggaard Larsen.

SNMG1 has been under Danish command since January 2018. During this period, Denmark has provided staff officers and flagship for the group in addition to this key leadership function.

For the first semester, HDMS Niels Juel served as the flagship, and on July 10 HDMS Esbern Snare relieved her and will serve as flagship during the second semester.

“I feel privileged and honoured for having commanded one of NATO’s standing maritime groups. To stay strong and sharp, you have to train, and that is exactly what we have been doing since our formation and departure from Bergen, Norway back in January” said Commodore Thinggaard Larsen. “Together, we have executed an incredible diverse and rewarding program. Our actions during the recent 6 months clearly demonstrates that we, NATO are: Stronger Together.”

In the first 6 months of 2018, the group conducted maritime activities from the North Atlantic to the west coast of Africa, participating in four major NATO and international exercises, enhancing interoperability among Alliance naval forces.

The group also exercised with NATO partners Finland and Morocco and has patrolled the North Atlantic, the Baltic Sea and the North Sea in support of Maritime Situational Awareness.

“It’s an honour for me to take command of SNMG1. My international staff and I are prepared and ready for the tasks ahead. I am looking forward to carrying on, the excellent work done by Commodore Thinggaard Larsen and his staff. My units, my staff and I will continue training and exercising, and thereby maintaining SNMG1 capabilities and readiness” said Commodore Fjord-Larsen. “We will deliver visible and credible presence and show that NATO is ready and standing as one”.