The Turkish corvette Buyukada left Aksaz port as flagship to NATO’s Operation Sea Guardian focused patrols late last month. Under the command of Captain Gokhan Temizoz, the NATO unit is supported by submarines from Italy, Greece and Turkey and maritime patrol aircraft during the Eastern Mediterranean Sea deployment.
Prior to departure, the staff of the Task Group and the ship crew was subject to precautionary measures dictated by the Covid-19 threat. Working at sea or ashore, health and safety of NATO personnel is priority. In face of this pandemic, NATO and allied navies follow established medical protocols and World Health Organisation recommendations.
“Our presence is a sign of determination to support the fight against illegal activities harming maritime security in this region
“Maritime security is a critical factor considering world commerce sea routes include the Mediterranean. Operation Sea Guardian is an important tool NATO countries and partners have at their disposal,” said Captain Richard Platel, Branch Head for Current Operations at NATO Maritime Command.
Security patrols monitor suspected activities at sea to enable operators to understand the environment and establish daily patterns near shipping routes. Support and co-operation from submarines and maritime patrol aircraft are key enablers to efficiently maintain a multi-domain view of maritime activities in the patrolled areas.
“Focused operations of NATO Operation Sea Guardian help NATO maintain an accurate maritime picture of daily activity in the Mediterranean and an opportunity to increase co-operation and inter-operability between allied navies under the umbrella of NATO’s Allied Maritime Command. The Turkish Navy is proud to be a contributor to this NATO operation providing support with its assets,’’ said Captain Gökhan Temizöz, Task Group Commander of NATO’s Operation Sea Guardian Focused Operation 20/2.
Operation Sea Guardian is NATO’s non-Article 5 maritime security operation working with Mediterranean stakeholders to maintain maritime situational awareness, deter and counter terrorism and enhance capacity.