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Are Sea Guardian ships circling in the water?

The Turkish frigate TCG Gaziantep which currently commands Operation Sea Guardian (credit: NATO / Marcom)

(B2) Operation ships Sea Guardian seem, for the moment, doomed to make circles in the water. The famous logistical support has certainly begun, but in a way and following the best practices, with supplies at sea by Italian or Spanish ships. Which, in itself, is a contribution for the EUNAVFOR MED operation but happens in a classic way at sea, sometimes without drums nor trumpets.

For the exchange of intelligence and information between the two organizations, it is much more complicated than what had been said, as confirmed to us by a well-informed diplomat. " The two organizations do not have the same classifications and the same modes. It takes work. »

But the problem does not seem to be only technical, it is also political. First of all, it comes up against the same obstacle as during all these years when it comes to dialogue between NATO and the EU on the ground. " Turkey does not automatically agree to transmit this data to Cyprus confirms a source.

Second, no one wants to get too carried away as the renewal of UN Security Council Resolution 2292 is underway. A resolution which gives a mandate, in particular, to Operation Sophia to act in the central Mediterranean both on the trafficking of human beings and the control of the embargo at sea... No need to wave a red rag in front of the countries which should come out against a return of NATO to the area.

The Secretary General of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, was also careful not to elaborate too much on this subject during the meeting with the press this morning. " We are present in the Mediterranean with our Operation Sea Guardian which also provides assistance to Operation Sophia he declared laconically.

We are thus far from the thundering declarations of the end of October which announced the start of this new NATO operation in support of the European Union operation... for the beginning of November (read: Exit Active Endeavour. NATO sets up Sea Guardian in the Mediterranean. Hiatus in the Aegean Sea). It is true that this "operation" does not really have its own permanent means, but means made available (1) by the Member States on a temporary basis (Read: Sea Guardian: a limited-scale operation).

(Nicolas Gros-Verheyde)

(1) Three ships make up the operation: the Turkish frigate TCG Gaziantep (F-490) — which is in command — the Italian frigate ITS Avière (F-583) and the Hellenic Frigate HS Navarinon (F-461). Currently on maneuvers in the Mediterranean, this is the second "gathering" after the first which took place in early November.

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).