June 12, 2020 (Google Translation) – The NATO frigate association SNMG 1 (Standing NATO Maritime Group 1) will arrive at the naval base in Kiel on Wednesday, June 17, 2020. The Norwegian frigate HNoMS “Otto Sverdrup” leads the association as a flagship. In addition, the Canadian frigate HMCS “Fredericton” and the German fuel transporter “Rhön” currently belong to SNMG 1.
After the ships were moved from the Mediterranean to northern European waters a few weeks ago, they took part in the “JOINT WARRIOR” maneuver off Scotland, practiced with Swedish and Finnish ships, temporarily integrated a Polish frigate into the association and are now returning from it back from the 6th US fleet “BALTOPS”, which has been taking place annually in June since 1972.
“The Baltic Sea is an important area for the NATO ship associations in Northern Europe. Our partners depend on free access and safe sea routes. For this we are present in the Baltic Sea and visit NATO and EU partners. I am particularly looking forward to the visit in Kiel, after we finished our participation in ‘BALTOPS’, “said Norwegian flotilla admiral Yngve Skoglund, commander of SNMG 1.
15 percent of global maritime trade is carried out on the Baltic Sea – making this sea the only “wet” supply route for allies in Poland and the Baltic States, a lifeline with only natural access through Danish waters. The freedom and safety of these routes are of strategic interest. All EU and NATO Baltic Sea states can be found in the exercise “BALTOPS”, in which 29 ships and just as many aircraft meet. Around 3,000 soldiers from 19 nations practice military cooperation in the navigationally and tactically demanding operational area of the Baltic Sea.
As in the previous year, Kiel is the start and end point of the maneuver, and many units will head for the naval port in the Wik. The entry parade is traditionally the starting signal of the Kiel Week. “Due to the Covid19 pandemic, we are unfortunately not in a position to carry out a regular port visit or shore leave for our crews in Kiel. It is only logistical in nature – nevertheless it is important to us to visit Germany. We are happy to be with the Germans Navy to participate in ‘BALTOPS’, “said flotilla admiral Skoglund.
The naval base in Kiel is close to the Baltic Sea entrances at a strategically important and well-protected location. The base regulates the entire logistical needs of domestic and foreign naval vessels. For ships and boats at sea, it is both a port, a service center and a logistics hub.