Commodore Jeanette Morang, Royal Netherlands Navy, handed over command of Standing NATO Maritime Group 1 (SNMG1) to Rear-Admiral Thorsten Marx, German Navy. The ceremony took place in Den Helder, homeport of the Royal Netherlands Navy, on January 6th. Commodore Morang assumed command of the multinational Task Group on July 8th 2022. It was deployed mainly in the Baltic and the North Sea, demonstrating NATO’s commitment to collective defence. During a challenging year following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, it made a significant contribution to maritime security in the region. Speaking at the handover ceremony, Commodore Morang praised the staff and crew across the Task Group.
“They have all shown eager determination to contribute to NATO’s deterrence of Russia and assurance of Allies. especially in the Eastern Baltic, and to demonstrate NATO’s ability to defend when the need would arise in these uncertain times. The Russians tested us only once. When Russian fighter aircraft from Kaliningrad Oblast overflew the Task Group at 300ft. This was an event where the risk of miscalculation presented itself in full. Fortunately, we had trained for situations like this, and all acted cool and professional. A rewarding 6 month period in my long naval career has come to an end. I relinquish command of Standing NATO Maritime Group one,” Commodore Jeanette Morang said.
The Baltic Sea region is of great strategic importance, bordered by six Allied nations. NATO deploys maritime forces in the Baltic Sea in order to maintain a credible and capable defensive capability in accordance with treaty obligations. The Germany Navy also deployed Brandenburg-class Type F123 frigate Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (F218) to join the NATO’s Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF). During this deployment, the frigate will serve as the flagship of the new German commander of the Nato unit for a period of next six months. Mecklenburg-Vorpommern along with a crew of 210 members, has been deployed in the northern flank area of operation, which includes the North Sea, the Baltic Sea and the North Atlantic Sea.
Standing NATO Maritime Group One (SNMG1) is one of NATO’s standing naval maritime immediate reaction forces. SNMG1 consists of four to six destroyers and frigates. Its role is to provide NATO with an immediate operational response capability. Currently, SNMG1 comprises German flagship FGS Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Polish Navy ORP General T. Kosziuszko and French Navy FS Aquitaine. SNMG1 operates under NATO Allied Maritime Command (MARCOM). Headquartered in Northwood, United Kingdom, MARCOM is the central command of all NATO maritime forces and the MARCOM commander is the primary maritime adviser to the Alliance. During 2021, SNMG1 was active in the region of the Baltic Sea for 12 days.