Good Company

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Friday, September 21, 2007

NATO Ships off Somalia

Press release- NATO Maritime Forces Off the Horn of Africa:
As part of a multi-national deployment NATO Maritime Forces are conducting presence operations and maritime situational awareness off the Horn of Africa.

At the end of July a Force of NATO ships set sail to make a historic 12,500 nautical mile circumnavigation around Africa on a two month deployment from August to October this year as part of NATO's commitment to global security. Standing NATO Maritime Group 1 (SNMG1), one of NATO's four standing maritime forces, sailed from the Mediterranean in early August passed the west coast of Africa, the Niger Delta around the Cape of Good Hope and is now passing the Horn of Africa.

The multinational force, comprised of six ships from six different NATO nations, Canada, Denmark, Germany, The Netherlands, Portugal and the United States will demonstrate the Alliance's commitment to upholding maritime security and international law. The deployment will also test NATO's logistics support systems foster closer links with some of the region's maritime forces and increase regional awareness.

The Force, under the command of Rear Admiral Mike Mahon, US Navy in the Flag Ship the USS Normandy, arrived in South Africa for a four day visit to Cape Town at the end of August. During this visit the Task Group conducted a series of exercises with the South African Navy. Last week the Task Group visited the Seychelles on a port visit.

The Task Group is now in the final phase of the deployment and this will include exercises in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Somalia, an area in which the safe passage of vessels carrying aid and humanitarian assistance to that country has increasingly been disturbed by acts of piracy.
One hopes they will "exercise" the pirates out of business...

UPDATE: Added photo. Photo caption:
Guided-missile cruiser USS Normandy (CG 60) performs a sail pass with the Dutch frigate HNLMS Evertsen (F805) as Normandy detaches from Standing NATO Maritime Group (SNMG) 1. Normandy and Evertsen have been sailing together around Africa for the past two months with SNMG1 as they conducted several presence operations around the continent. SNMG1 is one of four joint NATO maritime task forces. U.S. Navy photo By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Vincent J. Street
UPDATE2: "Sail Pass?" Explained here:
Sail Pass is a tradition in NATO. When a ship departs the Task Group and heads back home at the end of their six-month deployment, a Sail Pass is conducted as a way to pay our respects and say goodbye. Shipmates who had previously participated in this event told us that this would be one of the highlights of the cruise.
Of course, there's more to it than that.
UPDATE3: More news
Guided-missile cruiser USS Normandy (CG 60) approaches guided-missile destroyer USS Bainbridge (DDG 96) for a sail pass in the Indian Ocean. Bainbridge recently relieved Normandy as flagship for Rear Adm. Michael K. Mahon, commander of Standing NATO Maritime Group 1. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Vincent J. Street
Bainbridge missile firing:

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