Danish and Belgian commanders have taken the lead of two NATO naval groups which help provide security at sea. Commodore Søren Thinggard Larsen of the Royal Danish Navy now leads Standing NATO Maritime Group One (SNMG1), which was under Norwegian leadership throughout 2017. A special event was held in Bergen, Norway on Monday (15 January 2018) to mark the handover.
Meanwhile a ceremony was held at Zeebrugge, Belgium where Commander Peter Ramboer of the Belgian Navy assumed command of Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group One (SNMCMG1) from his Latvian counterpart. The group was recently involved in the safe disposal of historical bombs and mines found in European waters.
NATO has four standing maritime groups which are made up of ships from various nations, a demonstration of Allied solidarity. These vessels are permanently available to NATO to perform different tasks ranging from exercises to operations. They also serve as an on-call maritime force as a part of NATO’s Spearhead Force - the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force.
The Danish and Belgian commanders will lead their respective maritime groups through 2018.