Spain takes the command of SNMG2 from Italy
The Command of Standing NATO Maritime Group Two (SNMG2) was officially handed over to Spanish Navy Captain Manuel Aguirre Aldereguía on 30 June during a ceremony held in Rota, Spain.
The outgoing commander, Rear Admiral Paolo Fantoni, Italian Navy, held group command from December 2019 for a six-month term. In board the outgoing flagship, Italian FREMM-class frigate Fasan, the NATO pennant was lowered and hoisted on the incoming flagship, Spanish AEGIS-class frigate Alvaro de Bazan, on which the new Command would be embarked.
The ceremony was held in complete accordance with the protective measures for COVID-19 that were in place. The companies of both flagships will attend the ceremony without any added risk, having spent a quarantine time on board their respective units. Four VIPs, members of the Italian Navy, the Spanish Navy and the United States Navy participated in the ceremony.
“I want to thank Rear Admiral Paolo Fantoni, his staff, and all of the ships who have contributed so much to SNMG2 for the last six months. Bravo Zulu! The global COVID-19 pandemic has set us all challenges. Together, you have worked with professionalism and dedication to overcome the difficulties presented by the situation, and demonstrated the strength and adaptability of NATO to our Allies and to those who watch us. I am sure that Captain Manuel Aguirre will continue on the same course, and contribute to develop and prove the readiness of our forces at sea,” stated Vice Admiral Keith Blount, Royal Navy, Commander of NATO’s Allied Maritime Command.
Under the SNMG2 Italian Order, 13 separate units were part of the Task Group from Italian, Bulgarian, Canadian, French, Greek, Romanian, and Turkish navies. A separate task force, dedicated to the operations of the Aegean Sea, regularly comprised five units from three different NATO countries.
Despite COVID-19 emergency, SNMG2 provided NATO with a very high readiness force at sea capable of carrying out multinational exercises and operations providing assurance to the Allies and deterring any potential aggressors.
The Group supported NATO 's Operation Sea Guardian (OSG), monitoring Sea Communications Lines (SLOCs), contributing to maritime security, while the Aegean Sea Task Unit continuously monitored the migration crisis, under the command of a German naval unit and commander, with units from the Hellenic and Turkish navies.
SNMG2 engaged in passing drills with partner nation Georgia, with the Georgian Coast Guard, during a 20-day deployment at the Black Sea. In the final week of SNMG2 's Italian orders, the opportunity emerged to conduct passing exercises with two Tunisian Navy units, accompanied by a fruitful visit to Tunis before the February virus outbreak.
Maritime Business World