by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg aboard a Norwegian frigate to sailors participating in exercise Dynamic Mongoose
Minister Eriksen Søreide, admirals, sailors, it’s a great pleasure to be on board the F. Nansen.
For many reasons, but it’s great to see this modern, well-equipped ship, and with highly skilled personnel. And I have to admit that I feel in one way at home and it’s great to see how this frigate is contributing to the collective defence of NATO. And in many ways the F. Nansen is an example of how we are doing things together in NATO, because this ship was built at a Spanish shipyard, it was equipped with a lot of advanced and modern equipment from the USA and other NATO Allied countries and then it’s operated and owned by the Norwegian navy. And the ship has a proud history, participating in many different NATO missions and operations. Off the Horn of Africa fighting piracy, I saw you actually participating in the Trident Juncture exercise some months ago, I think it was out of Portugal. And you’ve also participated in our activities in the Mediterranean and now you’re going to be part of this exercise in anti-submarine warfare.
And this exercise is one part of the adaptation of the Alliance, to a more challenging security environment with new threats, new challenges. We have to respond, and that’s exactly what NATO is doing. And we know that naval capabilities are as important as ever. We know that 70% of the surface of the earth is covered by sea, oceans, and 90% of world trade is carried by sea and 50% of oil cargo is carried by ships at the sea. So navy capabilities, navies, are more and more important and therefore NATO has to be able to operate on the sea, over the sea and also under the sea. And that makes submarine warfare and anti-submarine warfare just more and more relevant for the Alliance.
It’s important because you test equipment, you test different vessels, how the equipment can be used, how it can be applied on different kinds of tasks and challenges, but perhaps the most important reason why the exercises are so important is to make sure that people can work together, enhance the, what we call, interoperability, the ability of sailors, personnel from different NATO Allied countries to work together. So I welcome this very much. NATO has implemented the biggest re-enforcement of our collective defence since the end of the Cold War. Not to provoke the conflict, but to prevent the conflict. We know that strong deterrence is the best way to prevent a conflict and therefore we have responded in the way we have done. But NATO does not seek conflict. Actually, we continue to strive for cooperation, for a more constructive relationship with Russia. But we know that there is no contradiction between strong defence and dialogue and this exercise is a part of this adaptation where we emphasize both defence and dialogue at the same time.
So I look forward to learn more about the ship and more about the people and the personnel, which are on board, and I wish you all the best with the exercise and I say ‘happy hunting’ because I know that you are going to hunt some submarines.
Thank you so much and it’s great to be here in Trondheim with this very typical Norwegian weather, so it’s always nice to be in Trondheim. Thank you.