NATO vessels moor at Gdynia

As many as six Standing NATO Maritime Group One (SNMG1) warships entered the northern Polish port of Gdynia on Friday morning.

Besides the Republic of Poland’s Warship (ORP) Gen. K. Pułaski guided missile frigate, the visiting force consists of a Spanish, German, Turkish, US and UK vessels with only the Danish ship missing to complete the SNMG1.

In line with its “First To Conquer" motto, the US Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Gravely sails as the SNMG1 flagship. Second of the group is the Spanish Álvaro de Bazán-class frigate dubbed Almirante Juan de Borbón. Then comes the UK’s type 23-class frigate, HMS Westminster and the German Rhön-class tanker. The Polish and Turkish vessels are Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigates, the latter called TCG Gökova.

The ships will be available to tourists. The USS Gravely may be toured on Saturday, April 20, from 1 pm to 3 pm at the “Francuskie” quay. The HMS Westminster, moored at the “Bułgarskie” quay will open its deck to tourists on the same day from 11 am to 2 pm. The Turkish TCG Gökova may be visited on Sunday, April 21 from 11 am to 2 pm. It is docked at the “Francuskie” quay.

“The elite multinational group is kept on the highest battle readiness level and is designed to carry out an immediate response in crisis situations, peacekeeping operations and in case of war. Being the best trained international strike force in the world, the warships operate on the Atlantic Ocean and on all European waters,” said the Third Warships Flotilla spokesperson.

The spokesperson added that the SNMG1 vessels are designed to “monitor navigation, control suspicious vessels, execute blockades, evacuate threatened civilians, work as a base of marines and special ops tasked with conducting inland operations.”

The SNMG1’s presence in Gdynia is a working visit. Created in 1968 as the Stanavforlant (Standing Naval Force Atlantic), the group’s name was changed in 2003 to SNMG-1 and has been subordinated to Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic.

The SNMG1 is part of NATO Response Force and one out of two standing maritime groups that consist of selected destroyers and frigates of the US, Canada, the UK, Germany and the Netherlands, cyclically reinforced by Belgian, Danish, Portuguese, Spanish and Polish vessels.