NATO Maritime Group visits Varna, Bulgaria, during Black Sea deployment
VARNA, Bulgaria – Ships assigned to Standing NATO Maritime Group Two (SNMG2) arrived in Varna today for a scheduled port visit during the Group’s deployment to the Black Sea.
Led by Rear Admiral Brad Williamson (USA N), SNMG2 is currently comprised of the flagship USS Vicksburg (CG 69), HMCS Fredericton (FFH 337), TCG Turgutreis (F 241), FGS Spessart (A 1442), ITS Aliseo (F 574), and ROS Regina Maria (F 222).
SNMG2 is in the Black Sea as part of a regularly scheduled deployment to the region to assure NATO Allies of the Alliance’s commitment to collective defense. During the deployment, SNMG2 ships are training with ships from the Bulgarian, Romanian and Turkish Navies.
“Our Sailors are excited to visit Varna and to interact with the people who represent this city and nation,” said Rear Admiral Williamson. “More importantly, we are looking forward to getting back underway and training with the professional mariners of the Bulgarian Navy.”
During the port visit, SNMG2 leadership will meet with local Bulgarian authorities and Navy officials to discuss numerous issues of shared importance, to include exercises in the Black Sea.
SNMG2 Sailors will also have the opportunity to experience the rich culture and history of the surrounding area and participate in volunteer opportunities before returning to the Black Sea to train with the Bulgarian Navy and maintain maritime situational awareness in the region.
Bulgaria became a member of NATO on March 29, 2004, along with Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia.