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BATUMI, Georgia – Four NATO ships assigned to Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group TWO (SNMCMG2) arrived in Batumi, Georgia for a scheduled visit on Friday, February 12, in an effort to enhance cooperative activities and strengthen relations with the partner nation.
Under the command of Captain Ramazan Kesgin, Turkish Navy, the Group includes the flagship TCG CEZAYIRLI GAZI HASAN PASA (Turkey) and the mine countermeasures vessels TCG EDREMIT (Turkey), ESPS TAMBRE (Spain), ITS GAETA, and ROS SLT. ALEXANDRU AXENTE (Romania). The fifth member of the Group, ITS GAETA (Italy), will arrive later in the visit.
“We are delighted to have the opportunity to visit Batumi, and to exercise and interact with the Georgian Coast Guard,” said Captain Kesgin. “This visit is a vital part of the NATO calendar for 2016 and is a significant event, ” he added.
In conjunction with the port visit by SNMCMG2, NATO Allied Maritime Command (MARCOM) Chief of Staff, Rear Admiral Giorgio Lazio, Italian Navy, will conduct a courtesy visit to the port, and meet with Georgian officials, including the director of the Georgian Coast Guard.
“This visit highlights the very positive partnership between the Alliance and Georgia, and builds upon SNMCMG2’s previous visit to Batumi in September 2013,” said Rear Admiral Lazio. “Opportunities such as this to exercise and work closely with the Georgian Coast Guard greatly enhance our interoperability between our forces, which can pay significant dividends in future cooperation in the maritime domain.”
Upon conclusion of the visit ashore, SNMCMG2’s ships will conduct a series of exercises at sea with the Georgian Coast Guard, enhancing their search and rescue, boarding, and tactical manoeuvering skill sets, and giving each other’s Sailors a chance to observe operations aboard one another’s ships, in a cross-pollination exercise.
L. J. De Rothschild