|Updated: 09-Dec-2009||CC-MAR News Releases|
07 04 08
NATO NAVY CONDUCTS EXERCISE WITH ISRAELI NAVAL FORCES IN EASTERN MEDITERRAN
April 7, 2008 - In its on-going efforts to build stronger maritime relationships throughout the Mediterranean, NATO deployed its Standing Maritime Group (SNMG-2) to the eastern Mediterranean for a port call in Haifa Israel. "The purpose of our visit was to build a stronger bond between NATO and Israeli naval forces, to ensure that we are always prepared to work together toward common goals in the region" explained LTCDR Michail Tsenempis, SNMG-2 Operations Officer.
LTCDR Tsenempis explained that these common goals include maritime surveillance operations to identify and track suspicious shipping activity in the region and to conduct necessary searches to defend against terrorist activity. "All sovereign states benefit from cooperation on the seas, building a stronger bond amongst nations against the threat of terrorism. NATO is always interested in cooperating with Partner Nations and Med Dialogue Nations that share its goals of contributing peace and stability in the region" explains Rear Admiral Sinan ERTUGRUL of the Turkish Navy, who currently serves as Commander of SNMG-2.
"It is good to visit Israel, seeing old friends and making new ones. The Israeli Navy is a very professional organization and we welcome their commitment to stability in the Mediterranean in the context of existing MOU." Prior to the port visit, SNMG-2 ships had the opportunity to work with Israeli Navy ships in a combined "Passage Exercise" in which they conducted a practice Search and Rescue operation off the coast of Haifa. In the exercise, both NATO and Israeli ships worked together to answer a simulated distress call from a small sinking ship at sea, and proceeded to the location of the distressed vessel in order to rescue the survivors. Such exercises are designed to practice interoperability of the forces, by ensuring that the two sides can adequately communicate and coordinate their efforts.
"This type of exercise is not unusual for NATO forces. We participate with national navies, of both NATO and Med Dialogue nations, on a routine basis, in order to build stronger relationships with the navies of the region to ensure that we can work together in times of crisis"