November 23, 2016 - The Albanian navy joined it’s first-ever NATO maritime mission with the addition of ALS Oriku to Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 on Monday. The vessel will support NATO activities in the Aegean Sea as part of the international efforts to stop illegal trafficking and migration.
ALS Oriku is an Iliria-class patrol boat manned by 21 crew members who will rotate every two months throughout the yearlong deployment with the NATO group. The Albanian Navy commitment is a welcome addition to the group and the deployment with SNMG2 will support interoperability among the NATO assets.
The Albanian patrol boat has joined ships from Greece, Netherlands, Turkey, and the United Kingdom in support of NATO’s current activities in the Aegean Sea. These units are patrolling and providing real-time daily information to the Coast Guards of Greece and Turkey, the EU Border, and Coast Guard Agency Frontex.
The Standing NATO Maritime Groups are a multinational, integrated maritime force made up of vessels from various allied countries. These vessels (including their helicopters) are permanently available to NATO to perform different tasks ranging from participating in exercises to intervening in operational missions.
These groups provide NATO with a continuous maritime capability for operations and other activities in peacetime and in periods of crisis and conflict. They also help to establish Alliance presence, demonstrate solidarity, conduct routine diplomatic visits to different countries, support transformation and provide a variety of maritime military capabilities to ongoing missions.
The Republic of Albania joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in 2009, and is one of the contributors to the Alliance operations to maintain peace and security in Afghanistan. Albania also contributes to the NATO–led Kosovo Force mission in Kosovo continuing to support the cooperation between NATO and Kosovo Security Forces.