NATO Op Sea Guardian underway in central Mediterranean

NATO has started its second focused maritime patrol of 2021 in the Mediterranean.

As part of Operation Sea Guardian (OSG), vessels and aircraft from Greece, Croatia, Italy and Turkey will patrol the central Mediterranean to enhance maritime situational awareness, deter terrorism and build the capacity of navies from the region.

Specifically, this NATO’s maritime security operation gathers the flagship Hellenic Navy frigate Salamis and the Croatian Navy missile boat Dubrovnik, supported by aircrafts and submarines from Greece, Italy and Turkey.

NATO
Greek frigate Salamis (F-455). Photo: NATO

NATO Operation Sea Guardian is a year-round, proactive and forward-looking 360 commitment of up-keeping deterrence on terrorism and illegal activities. This operation is also a fusion of information to create a comprehensive picture of daily activities in the Mediterranean, and NATO Maritime Command serves as the hub of maritime security information sharing for the alliance.

The second OSG Focused Operation for 2021 focuses on the central Mediterranean, with a planned port visit to Tunis, Tunisia.

Turkish and Spanish special operations forces support in stand-by under the OSG Special Operations Command and Control Element (SOCCE). Due to COVID measures, all in-person interactions have been scaled down to protect the crew and the mission.

Operation Sea Guardian is a non-Article 5 maritime security operation of NATO aimed at working with Mediterranean stakeholders and partners to maintain maritime situational awareness, deter and counter terrorism and enhance capacity building.

This operation remains one of the most important tools for NATO projecting stability throughout the Mediterranean Sea and sustaining maritime situational awareness. Focused patrols of NATO’s Operation Sea Guardian help NATO maintain an accurate maritime picture of daily activity in the focused areas of the Mediterranean Sea and is an opportunity to increase cooperation and interoperability.

Sea Guardian focused patrols are carried out six times a year in a designated geographic area of the Mediterranean.