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SOUDA BAY, Greece - The sixth focused patrol of NATO’s Operation Sea Guardian (OSG) took place in  2020, with Hellenic Navy vessel Spetsai as its flagship.  

Operation Sea Guardian (OSG) is a year-round, proactive and forward-looking 360 commitment: by up-keeping deterrence on terrorism and transnational illegal activities.

This was the final for 2020 OSG Focused Operation, running from November 24 to December 9, in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea.

The Focused Operation was led by Captain Stefanos Sarris of the Hellenic Navy. The task group consisted of the Hellenic ship Spetsai, Bulgarian ship Smeli and the British Royal Navy offshore patrol vessel Trent, supported by submarines from Greece and Turkey. Maritime Patrol Aircrafts (MPA) and Airborne Early Warning units from Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Turkey and the US were also contributing to the focused patrol with associated air support.

Operation Sea Guardian is a non-Article 5 maritime security operation of NATO aimed at working with Mediterranean stakeholders to maintain maritime situational awareness, deter and counter terrorism and enhance capacity building.

This Operation remains one of the most important tools for NATO projecting stability throughout the Mediterranean Sea and sustaining maritime situational awareness. Focused patrols of NATO’s Operation Sea Guardian help NATO maintain an accurate maritime picture of daily activity in the focused areas of the Mediterranean Sea and is a great opportunity to increase cooperation and interoperability.

On December 7, 2020 the Greek-led task group for the current NATO Operation Sea Guardian focused security patrol, conducted training with the Israeli Navy in the eastern Mediterranean Sea. HS Spetsai (FOCOPS 20-06 flagship) and BGS Smeli linked up with Israeli maritime units Lahav and Romah, to go through challenging medical evacuation and search and rescue (SAR) scenarios. Air units were involved to transport the simulated injured personnel to a local Israeli hospital as part of the scenario.

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