A NATO naval minesweeping group docked yesterday at the harbor of La Goulette, a northern suburb of Tunis, in an operation aiming to enhance mutual relations between NATO and countries of the Mediterranean like Tunisia.
The group, officially known as the Standing NATO Mine Counter Measure Group 2, is a multinational maritime force comprised of vessels from various allied nations. It is part of NATO’s effort to clear the environment of the lethal residues of previous wars. In 1999, NATO created the Standing Mine Countermeasures Force Mediterranean to be permanently active in minesweeping operations.
Captain Abdulhamit Sener, an officer in the Turkish Navy and leader of the group, conveyed today in a press conference held on board the Turkish flagship “Mehmetpasa” that mines are a danger to the whole world, given that 45% of transportation operations worldwide happen through the sea.
“And we still have mines left from WWII,” he added. The multinational force conducts regular operations in the Mediterranean to destroy old mines.
The minesweeping process of the fleet includes 3 main steps: localization and classification, identification, and finally neutralization. This year’s group is made of allied forces from the Turkish, Italian, Spanish and British Navies.
Abdulhamit Sener made clear that this annual visit “does not have any political implications.”
The visit will also include training exercises with the Tunisian navy.