Two ships belonging to Standing NATO Maritime Group 1 (SNMG1) arrived in Tallinn for a port visit on Monday, docking at Old City Harbor, with a third vessel, an accompanying allied tanker, docking at Muuga Harbor, just northeast of the Estonian capital.
"Standing NATO Maritime Group 1 is here for the second time this year — that is confirmation of NATO's consistent presence in our region," Capt. Johan-Elias Seljamaa, deputy commander of the Estonian Navy, said according to an Estonian Defense Forces (EDF) press release. "It is as a result of such visits that we find more and more opportunities for cooperation with our allies."
A practical aspect of such visits is also the opportunity for the ships and their crews to get acquainted with local maritime features and conditions.
The Dutch joint support ship and current SNMG1 flagship HNLMS Karel Doorman (A833) and the Portuguese NRP Corte-Real (F332), a Vasco da Gama-class frigate, docked at Tallinn's Old City Harbor on Monday morning.
Meanwhile, the RFA Tidesurge (A138) a British Tide-class replenishment tanker accompanying the other two ships, docked at Muuga Harbor.
While in port, Commodore Jeanette Morang, commander of SNMG1, is scheduled to meet with Maj. Gen. Veiko-Vello Palm, deputy chief of the EDF, as well as Ministry of Defense Undersecretary for Defense Planning Tiina Uudeberg.
Part of NATO's Response Force
Standing NATO Maritime Groups 1 and 2 (SNMG1 and SNMG2) are NATO's two Maritime Immediate Reaction Forces, which the alliance describes as multinational, integrated maritime forces made up of vessels from various allied countries that are permanently available to NATO to perform tasks ranging from participating in exercises to actually intervening in operational missions.
Together with Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Groups 1 and 2 (SNMCMG1 and SNMCMG2) they make up the alliance's Standing Naval Forces, part of the maritime component of the NATO Response Force.
SNMG1 last paid a port visit to Estonia this April, following which the group's ships participated in a cooperation exercise with the Estonian Navy and Estonian Air Force.
Visiting future allies first
Prior to arriving in Tallinn this time, SNMG1 was in Finland over the weekend, where it participated in an exercise with the Finnish Navy.
Finland and Sweden are currently in the process of joining the security alliance, with the accession protocols for both countries signed by NATO ambassadors in Brussels on July 5. Later that same day already, Canada became the first NATO member state to ratify the protocols.
With a Riigikogu vote a day later, Estonia became the first NATO member state to ratify the two countries' accession to the alliance via parliament.
All 30 NATO member states must ratify the protocols according to their respective national requirements before Finland and Sweden can formally be accepted to the alliance.
Editor: Aili Vahtla