Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 Operational Handover
Naples (ITA) – Commodore Steve Chick, UK Navy today relieved Rear Admiral Giovanni Gumiero Italian Navy as commander of the Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 (SNMG2) during an Operational Hand-over in Souda Bay (Greece). The ceremony was presided by Vice Admiral Maurizio Gemignani, Italian Navy, Commander Allied Maritime Component Command Naples.
SNMG2 will replace the sister Force SNMG1 that is currently conducting the counter-piracy Operation Allied Protector off the Horn of Africa and in the Gulf of Aden.
Addressing the crews of SNMG2, Vice Admiral Gemignani praised them for the results achieved during the past year and stated: “The primary role of maritime security in the Mediterranean Region and its approaches rests with you. Operation Active Endeavour, established under the umbrella of Article 5 of the NATO Treaty, demonstrates Tthe Alliance’s resolve to effectively and actively deter, defend, disrupt and protect the maritime environment against terrorism, while simultaneously undergoing a process of renewal and continuous adaptation to improve capabilities in the area of Maritime Situational Awareness.”: He also added: “New needs for maritime security are emerging in many other parts of the world. One of these is the need to eliminate the risks of attacks by pirates as it is currently happening off the Horn of Africa. These attacks are putting at risk thee principle of freedom of navigation and the free flow of maritime trade.”
Commodore Chick in his military career has participated in several operational deployments, to include two Adriatic deployments in support of operations in Bosnia. He has commanded HMS Nottingham during a deployment to the Middle East and Far East and Operation Bolton (Iraq); and HMS Chatham, during a further Middle East deployment and involvement in disaster relief operations off Sri Lanka following the Tsunami.
Summarizing the operational, training and diplomatic activity of the past year, Rear Admiral Gumiero said: “SNMG2 has travelled more than 43,000 nautical miles, visiting 65 ports in 19 different nations, nine of them belonging to NATO, one to the Partnership for Peace programme, two the Mediterranean Dialogue and seven to other non-NATO nations.”
SNMG2 is a permanently activated multinational NATO maritime force, led by a multinational staff, created as a high readiness group, mobile and flexible across the broad spectrum of missions. Command of the Force periodically rotates amongst NATO nations. SNMG2 usually operates under the Allied Maritime Component Command Naples and is part of the maritime component of the NATO Response Force.
The Force routinely participates in NATO’s anti-terrorism operation Active Endeavour and conducted the first NATO counter-piracy operation, Allied Provider, in 2008. In addition to its operational duties, the Force participates in exercises with NATO, Partnership for Peace and Mediterranean Dialogue navies and represents the Alliance during visits to non-NATO ports.