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Two NATO Ships Make Port Call in Batumi

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On October 25, two NATO ships, assigned to the Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group 2 (SNMCMG2), arrived on a port call in Batumi on Georgia’s Black Sea coast.

The maritime group, which includes the Italian flagship ITS Vesuvio and Turkish minehunter TCG Amasra, is led by Alessandro Falcone, Commander of NATO’s SNMCMG2.

Calling Georgia “one of the oldest and most important regional partners for NATO,” Commander Falcone said that during their stay, the SNMCMG2 crews will operate with the Georgian Coast Guard “to strengthen their maritime defense capabilities,” and “to enhance interoperability with NATO forces.”

According to Commander Falcone they will conduct a three-day exercise at sea, as well as different thematic workshops, which among others would include communication – “a big part of the necessary tools to achieve interoperability with the NATO forces.”

SNMCMG2 is a part of the Allied Maritime Command (MARCOM), the central command of all NATO maritime forces answerable directly to NATO’s Allied Command Operations (ACO) in Mons, Belgium.

It is one of four standing NATO groups which are multinational, integrated maritime forces made up of vessels from Allied countries. The vessels are under continuous NATO command to perform a wide range of tasks ranging from deterrent presence and situational awareness to exercises and the conduct of operational missions.

This is the SNMCMG2’s fifth visit to Georgia: three vessels made a port call in Batumi in 2013, four in 2016, four in 2017, and five in 2018.

According to MARCOM, NATO ships arrived in the Black Sea on October 21 “on a routine patrol deployment to enhance interoperability and cooperation with Allies and NATO partners on the Black Sea coast.”

It also reported that during the group’s patrol in the Black Sea, SNMCMG2 plans to conduct a port visit to NATO partners Odessa (Ukraine) and Batumi (Georgia) in addition to allied ports of Constanța (Romania) and Trabzon (Turkey).

“Ukraine and Georgia are highly valued partners to NATO, contributing to NATO operations and regularly exercising together in a demonstration of their strong commitment to international security,” MARCOM’s Public Affairs Office stated.

Ahead of the NATO vessels’ port call, the USS Porter, one of the guided-missile destroyers of the United States Navy, was also visiting Batumi.

Head of Regional Government of Adjara Tornike Rizhvadze noted that “the regular port calls” from Georgia’s partners to the Black Sea “is a precondition for [ensuring] safe, peaceful region.”

The Georgian Coast Guard’s press office told Civil.ge that the NATO ships might stay in Batumi until the end of the month.

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This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)

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