Norwegian Frigate to Lead NATO Maritime Group
“The frigate will thus be leading the important task of combating pirate activity off the coast of the Horn of Africa”, says Defence Minister Anne-Grete Strøm-Erichsen.
NATO has asked Norway to take the lead role in Standing NATO Maritime Group 1 (SNMG1) during the second half of 2013. In this role the frigate and the force commander’s staff will also take the lead in Operation Ocean Shield.
This is the first time that one of the new frigates has taken part in a NATO operation.
“With this we are showing that Norway is also ready to take on important NATO tasks at sea. Norway possesses modern frigates with excellent operational capabilities, well-trained crews and staff officers capable of leading demanding maritime operations,” the defence minister emphasises.
It is these same NATO forces that will come to the rescue if a situation requiring international crisis management arises in the sea areas closer to home.
Pirate activity has been at a high level in the Indian Ocean since 2008. More offensive tactics from the international anti-piracy forces and the shipping companies’ own preventive measures have since made voyages somewhat safer. Since the spring of 2011 there has been a clear reduction in the number of hijackings but the problem is still a serious one.
“The piracy situation has improved but it is still necessary to take military measures which can contribute towards increasing the safety and security of shipping and those who sail in these waters. This naval presence remains a necessity if the situation is not to spiral out of control once more,” says defence minister Strøm-Erichsen.
The frigate will be carrying special forces personnel from the naval or coastal Ranger Commands, elite units more than capable of boarding or attacking pirate vessels
Article and image courtesy of The Nordic Page.