Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group Two (SNMCMG-2) visited La Valletta, Malta from 20th of August to 23th of August 2021 and conducted a Passing Exercise (PASSEX) with Maltese Armed Forces units in the vicinity of La Valletta. During the port visit in La Valetta, COMSNMCMG2 Javier Núñez de Prado paid a courtesy call to the Maritime Squadron, under strict COVID-19 prevention measures. He was welcomed by the Commanding Officer Etienne Scicluna.
Workshops were provided to Maltese Navy by SNMCMG2 staff and ESPS Rayo’s crew. At the end of the visit, there was an exchange of representational gifts, and a Pre-Sail Conference was held in the Armed Forces of Malta (AFM) facilities. Following ashore activities on 23rd of August, SNMCMG2 units and Maltese Navy patrol vessel P-62 departed from La Valletta and executed a serialized schedule of exercises. The training included a Medical Evacuation (MEDEVAC) exercise involving a helicopter from AFM.
To respond to contingency situations, additional forces can be added to these groups, with the NATO command staff on board and the ships of the Group as the nucleus, capable of providing timely support to NATO operations. SNMCMG2 is currently composed by ESPS Rayo (Flag Ship), ITS Alghero and TCG Alanya. Malta is a strategic partner for NATO; due to its geographical situation, it’s support in MSA (Maritime Situational Awareness) is invaluable to maritime security in the Central Mediterranean Sea.
SNMCMG2 is one of four standing forces that comprise the maritime component of the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF), which is part of the NATO Response Force (NRF).From its activation on 27 May 1999, the unit was initially called Standing Mine Countermeasures Force (in the) Mediterranean (MCMFORMED). Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group 2 (SNMCMG2) is a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) standing mine countermeasures Immediate Reaction Force. Its role is to provide NATO with an immediate operational response capability.