Standing NATO Maritime Group Two (SNMG2) units entered the Black Sea on March 23 for routine operations in the area, including upcoming exercises with the Georgian Navy.
The task unit is composed of three frigates from Canada, Italy and Turkey, commanded by Italian Navy Rear Admiral Paolo Fantoni.
The ships — HMCS Fredericton, ITS Fasan and TCG Salihreis — entered the Black Sea after an ‘intense’ program of exercises in the Central Mediterranean.
With three Allied nations bordering the Black Sea, Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey, a number of Allied ships regularly operate in the Black Sea. The Standing Naval Forces also conduct regular patrols in the international waters of the Black Sea enhancing Allied ability to work together in the maritime domain.
The NATO Group will visit the Georgian port Poti at the beginning of April. Although many of the planned activities with the Georgian authorities, media gatherings and events are being scaled down in order to reduce the risk for both sides of COVID-19, the exercises at sea involving the Georgian Navy will go on as planned.
“It is undeniable that, given the global pandemic, extraordinary measures must be put in force to prevent and mitigate the risk of exposure for every single individual involved in the activities,” Rear Admiral Paolo Fantoni, Italian Navy, Commander of SNMG2, said.
“Together with our medical staff, we are working daily to enforce these measures while continuously refining them, as well as develop procedures to adopt in the unlikely case of an infection amongst the crew in order to minimize the risk of spreading, should such event take place. This work is part of what enables us to continue our support to NATO partner nations in the Black Sea.”