Maritime forces and vessels from the Standing Nato Mine Countermeasures Group 2 (SNMCMG2) have completed a two-week-long mine countermeasures (MCM) exercise entitled Ariadne 2023.

Announced by the Nato Allied Maritime Command (MARCOM), the 2023 iteration of the exercise was hosted by Greece between 6 and 17 March and conducted in the north coastal region of Crete.

The objective of this annual exercise was to enhance the capabilities of participating forces to undertake MCM operations.

It further aimed to strengthen interoperability, mutual understanding and cooperation among the participating forces while improving the operational readiness of SNMCMG2.

The SNMCMG2 consisted of the Turkish Navy’s flagship TCG Yuzbasi Gungor Durmus and four mine-hunting vessels: the Italian Navy’s ITS Numana, the Spanish Navy’s ESPS Tajo, HNLMS Makkum from the Netherlands and the Turkish vessel TCG Enez.

MARCOM reported that the current edition of Ariadne saw a high level of integration between the participating vessels as they performed MCM missions.

During the initial phase of the exercise, called the harbour phase and held in the Cretan town of Souda between 6 and 8 March, the maritime units carried out a series of mine countermeasure drills in different multi-threat fictitious scenarios. This was followed by the sea phase of the exercise from 9 to 16 March.

SNMCMG2 commander and Turkish Navy Captain Ahmet Serhat Akyazi said: “Ariadne 23 was beneficial for SNMCMG2 as a Nato Standing Force.

“There was a robust level of integration between the ships and together we achieved successful results in mine countermeasures operations.

“This exercise was a good opportunity to promote inter-operability and mutual understanding among the Nato units and to maintain the high readiness level of SNMCMG2.”