The Royal Netherlands Navy (RNLN) has officially handed over the command of the Standing Nato Maritime Group 1 (SNMG1) to their German counterparts.

Announced by Nato’s Allied Maritime Command, the change in command was marked by a ceremony held on 6 January at the RNLN’s main naval base at Den Helder in North Hol­land.

During the ceremony, RNLN commander Jeanette Morang handed over the SNMG1 banner to German Navy rear admiral Thorsten Marx.

Thorsten said: “Together, we show that Nato is ready and standing as one. For that, we strive daily to ensure that our task group is visible, persistent and as ready for tomorrow as we are today.”

The Netherlands took over the command of SNMG1 in July last year. The deployed task force primarily operated in the Baltic and the North Sea regions, contributing to Nato’s collective defence commitment.

The Dutch vessels deployed as part of the task force included Karel Doorman-class ships HNLMS Van Amstel (F831) and HNLMS Karel Doorman, an NH90 Nato Frigate Helicopter, HNLMS Rotterdam, De Zeven Provinciën-class frigates, De Zeven Provinciën (F802), along with the flagship HNLMS Tromp (F803).

Morang said: “We have spread Nato’s message across Europe, from Lisbon in the south, to Bergen in the north, and Helsinki in the east.

“Every ship and every crew member have shown that they want to do everything to contribute to this. As Nato, we have shown that we can defend ourselves, if necessary, in these uncertain times.”

The new vessels in the SNMG1 include Germany’s Brandenburg-class frigate FGS Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Polish Navy’s ORP General T Kosziuszko and French Navy’s FREMM multipurpose frigate FS Aquitaine.