For the first time this year, Trent – which largely operates in the Med and patrols a vast area from the Gulf of Guinea to the Levant – has joined Maritime Group 2, the second of NATO’s two permanent naval forces.
Group 1 focuses on promoting peace and stability in the cooler waters of northern Europe, Group 2 mirrors its activities throughout the Mediterranean region.
Group 2, currently patrolling the eastern Med, comprises Italian flagship ITS Margottini, Spanish Blas de Lezo and Turkish TCG Goksu.
It promotes the alliance, hones seafaring and operational skills so that in a crisis – from conflict to disaster relief – its forces can work together seamlessly to maximum effect.
Trent, which has recently been in Souda Bay in Crete, has been conducting propulsion tests to push her engines (and engineers) to the limit (she achieved in excess of 24kts), gunnery exercises and maritime security operations, checking on passing shipping.
The Task Group is a core part of the NATO Response Force (NRF), which is a technologically advanced, multinational force made up of rapidly deployable land, air, maritime and Special Operations Forces components. It provides collective defence and rapid military response to emerging crises.
“Trent’s ship’s company are delighted to join NATO’s Standing Maritime Group Two in the Eastern Mediterranean, maritime forces are a highly-responsive first line of defence, and as a permanently forward-deployed ship we take pride in our ability to deploy quickly and reach remote locations. Through this standing task, we secure freedom of the seas and demonstrate freedom of navigation over 2,000 miles away from the United Kingdom. Sailing as part of the NATO task group is a clear demonstration of our resilience and strength as an alliance.”Tom Knott, Commanding Officer Commander.
Her task is to monitor activity in the Eastern Med, operating in accordance with international law and supported by the participating allies and partners. In addition, there are frequent exercises to keep the NATO force at the top of their game.
This is a new experience for some of Trent’s 50-plus sailors, such as 19-year-old Marine Engineering Technician Stuart Sharkey.
“Since my basic training, Trent is the first ship I have deployed with. I’m excited to put all my training into action working with our team alongside other international navies from NATO – this is why I joined the Royal Navy.”Stuart Sharkey, Engineering Technician
After her time attached to the NATO force Trent will remain forward-deployed to the Mediterranean promoting security and stability alongside our regional partners.