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PASSEX and visit of NATO warships in Helsinki

4.5.2020 17.54
Press release

One of NATOS standing maritime groups will this weekend visit Helsinki and conduct a joint PASSEX (Passing Exercise) with the Finnish Coastal Fleet early next week.

Standing NATO Maritime Group One (SNMG1) is NATOs quick reaction force at sea in Northern Europe. For the past weeks it has been operating in the Baltic Sea and will do a short stop in Helsinki Cruise Terminal from Friday 8th to Monday 11th May, to do necessary logistical replenishment.

Due to the situation with the Corona-virus and measures taken by both the NATO-force and Finnish authorities, the crews on board the ships will not go ashore during the visit.

On Monday 11th May they will conduct a joint naval exercise (PASSEX) with the Finnish Coastal Fleet in the Gulf of Finland. The force consists for the time being of the Norwegian frigate HNoMS Otto Sverdrup and German oiler FGS Rhon.

- It is highly important, that regardless of the ongoing COVID19-situation, we are able to continue our efforts and exercises with our partners. The cooperation between Finnish Navy and NATO maritime units is well established. Interoperability and cooperation are beneficial to all of us, who operate together in the Baltic Sea region, says Finnish Navy Chief of Operations, Captain (N) Veli-Petteri Valkamo.

For the joint exercise the NATO-force will be joined by the minelayer Hämeenmaa and FNS Pori from the Coastal Fleet. In addition a Pilatus PC-12 NG liaison aircraft, a Hawk jet trainer and Learjet twinjet will be supporting from the Finnish Air Force.

- Due to the Corona-situation we will unfortunately not be able to do a regular port visit to Helsinki. This time our visit will only be for logistical purposes. It is still important for us to pay Finland a visit, and I am very happy that we are able to do a joint exercise together with the Finnish Navy. NATO and Finland share the same interests in maintaining the conditions for international order, safe sea lines of communication and freedom of navigation in the Baltic Sea. In order to do so we must be able to operate together whenever necessary. Joint training and exercise is highly valuable for both NATO and Finland, says Commodore Yngve Skoglund, Commandant of SNMG1.

About Standing NATO Maritime Group One (SNMG1)

SNMG1 is one of four multinational standing maritime task groups in NATO, composed of warships from various allied countries.

NATOs maritime task groups provide the alliance with a continuous maritime force always present at sea, capable of performing missions in peace, conflict and ultimately warfighting.

Through participation in allied exercises and training, the task groups build and maintain readiness, interoperability, cooperation and unity at sea. Its primary mission is to serve as the core maritime contribution to NATO Very High Readiness Joint Task Forces (VJTF).