Royal Canadian Navy and Spanish Navy frigate assigned to NATO’s Standing Maritime Group Two (SNMG2) arrived in Odesa, Ukraine on April 1 for a routine port visit.
Canadian frigate HMCS Toronto and Spanish frigate ESPS Santa Maria arrived in Odesa after patrolling in the Black Sea with fellow SNMG2 ships for the last several days.
Other ships in the group include De Zeven Provinciën-class frigate HNLMS Evertsen, Turkish frigate TCG Gelibolu and French replenishment oiler FS Var.
SNMG2 entered the Black Sea after transiting the Bosphorus Strait on March 28.
Following the visit to Odesa, HMCS Toronto plans to conduct a passing exercise with Ukrainian Navy ships in the Black Sea to enhance interoperability among allied and partner nation ships.
Since Russia’s illegal and illegitimate annexation of Crimea in 2014, NATO has increased its presence in the Black Sea. Patrols by NATO Maritime Groups increased in 2018 to three patrols for each group for a total of 120 days of NATO Group presence over the year, compared to two patrols for each group and a total of 80 days in 2017.
Concurrent with the port visit to Odesa, HNLMS Evertsen along with group members Bulgarian frigate BGS Drazki, Romanian frigate ROS Regele Ferdinand and Turkish frigate TCG Yildirim are conducting a port visit to Poti, Georgia.