Standing NATO Maritime Group Two (SNMG2) units entered the Black Sea on March 23 for routine operations in the area, including exercises with the Georgian Navy.

SNMG’s task unit comprises three frigates from Canada, Italy and Turkey, commanded by Italian Navy Rear Admiral Paolo Fantoni.

With Allied nations Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey bordering the Black Sea, several Allied ships regularly operate in the waters. The Standing Naval Forces also conduct regular patrols in the international waters of the Black Sea. This enhances Allied ability to work together in the maritime domain.

The NATO Group will visit the Georgian port Poti at the beginning of April. They are cancelling media gatherings and many events to remove the risk of COVID-19. However, exercises at sea involving the Georgian Navy will go on as planned.

SNMG2 ships - HMCS Fredericton, ITS Fasan and TCG Salihreis - arrived after an intense programme of exercises in the Central Mediterranean.

"It is undeniable that, given the global pandemic, extraordinary measures must be put in force to prevent and mitigate the risk of exposure for every single individual involved in the activities," said Rear Admiral Fantoni.

"Together with our medical staff, we are working daily to enforce these measures while continuously refining them, as well as develop procedures to adopt in the unlikely case of an infection amongst the crew in order to minimize the risk of spreading, should such event take place. This work is part of what enables us to continue our support to NATO partner nations in the Black Sea."