March 9, 2016 - The German flagship of Standing NATO Maritime Group Two (SNMG2) FGS BONN is the first NATO ship to enter the area of activity for a first patrol around the Greek island of Lesbos. Over the weekend, NATO had expanded the area of activity into the territorial waters of Turkey and Greece, in close coordination with both Allies. NATO also expanded its cooperation with the EU’s border agency Frontex.
“We are able to support the local authorities with our sensors, amplifying their capabilities. It is absolutely necessary to provide critical information to them, including the Turkish and Greek Coast Guards and the European Border Agency, FRONTEX to help them deal with the illegal human trafficking networks,” said Rear Admiral Jörg Klein, Commander SNMG2.
Monday evening BONN began her passage into the area between the island of Lesbos and the Turkish coast, while maintaining continuous contact with local authorities. Turkish and Greek liaison officers embarked aboard FGS BONN are facilitating timely information sharing to all involved authorities, further enhancing the effectiveness of the ship’s presence in the area.
“This first patrol has shown that we as a well-trained NATO force are able to start with our task in this area. All the units as well as my multinational staff are well prepared to contribute to the objectives of this mission, which is to help counter the lines of illegal human trafficking and illegal migration in the Aegean Sea,” said Rear Admiral Klein.
At the moment SNMG2 consists of the German flagship FGS BONN, the Canadian frigate HMCS FREDERICTON, the Hellenic frigate HS SALAMIS, the Turkish frigate TCG BARBAROS and the British landing ship dock (auxiliary) RFA MOUNTS BAY. SNMG2 was directed to conduct reconnaissance, monitoring, and surveillance, and to share information with Turkish and Greek authorities and the European Union’s border agency FRONTEX to assist in international efforts to counter human trafficking and criminal networks in the region.