Standing NATO Maritime Group Two (SNMG2) concluded a scheduled port visit to Souda Bay, Greece, on March 25. SNMG2 visited Souda Bay with its flagship USS James E. Williams (DDG 95) (USA) as well as HMCS Fredericton (FFH 337) (Canada), HNLMS De Zeven Provinciën (F802) (Netherlands), and ITS Paolo Thaon di Revel (P 430) (Italy). The task group entered port after operating in the Adriatic, Ionian, and Central Mediterranean Seas where it conducted gunnery exercises as well as vigilance activities.
While in Souda Bay, U.S. Sailors from the U.S. Navy Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS James E. Williams conducted training with the NATO Maritime Interdiction Operational Training Centre. The training served as an opportunity for U.S. Sailors to become familiar with the NATO tactics, techniques and procedures to conduct vessel-boarding operations. The two-day course consisted of classroom and practical training. As a NATO task group, SNMG2 prioritizes its mandate to enhance the collective capacity, responsiveness, deployable readiness, integration and interoperability of its forces.
“This is yet another opportunity to increase our level of interoperability between our Allied forces,” Commander, SNMG2 U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Scott Sciretta said. “By learning and incorporating NATO procedures on boarding ships in the region, U.S. Sailors can now integrate with Allied Sailors and conduct joint visits and searches of suspicious vessels at sea should the need arise. This valuable skill increases our ability to work with our Allies and ensures the maritime channels in the Mediterranean region remain safe.”
Its focus is on deterrence and defense against potential adversaries in the maritime domain, upholding freedom of navigation, securing maritime trade routes and protecting the main lines of communication. SNMG2 is a multinational integrated task group that projects a constant and visible reminder of the Alliance’s solidarity and cohesion afloat. This continuous maritime capability performs a wide range of tasks, including exercises and real-world operations in periods of crisis and conflict. SNMG2 is one of four Standing Naval Forces that operate under NATO Allied Maritime Command, headquartered in Northwood, United Kingdom.