It is announced that Captain Georgios Pelekanakis, Hellenic Navy, relieves on Wednesday, 7 July 2010, Captain Patrizio Rapalino, Italian Navy. The latter assumes the Operational Command of the Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group 2 (SNMCMG2).
The hand-over will be presided by Vice Admiral Georgios Dimitriadis HN, Commander in Chief Hellenic Fleet as well as Vice Admiral Carlos Luis Tortosa Saavedra, Spanish Navy, Deputy Commander of Allied Maritime Command, Naples.
During the ceremony, SNMCMG2 sailed in the Port of Souda Bay with the following ships:
ITS Granatiere, Italian Navy (Flagship-outgoing)
HS Aliakmon, Greek Navy (Flagship- incoming)
ESPS Segura, Minehunter, Spanish Navy
FGS Groemitz, Minehunter, German Navy
HS Kallisto, Minehunter, Greek Navy
IST Rimini, Minehunter, Italian Navy
TCG Amasra, Minehunter, Turkish Navy
Captain G. Pelekanakis is the third Greek officer to assure the duty of commander of SNMCMG2 since the Force was activated at La Spezia, Italy, eleven years ago.
The Force was established on 27 May 1999, as a NATO Maritime Mine Countermeasures Response Force, Mediterranean, to conduct missions in peacetime, crisis and conflicts. Its initial name was NATO Mine Countermeasures Force, Mediterranean. Since 1999 the Force has participated in several NATO exercises as well as in PfP exercises. It has visited numerous ports, including ports of the Mediterranean Dialogue countries. Additionally, the Force has participated in Allied Harvest operation, launched on 9 June 1999 and lasted 73 days. During that operation, 93 artillery missiles were found and 9 areas of 1.041 n.m. were cleared from ordnance jettisoned in Former Yugoslavia.
On 3 September 2001, the Force changed its name to Mine Countermeasures Force South (MCMFORSOUTH) to bring its name in line with its NATO Northern Region counterpart, MCMFORNORTH. On 1 January 2005, the Force was denominated as Standing NATO Mine Counter Measures Group 2. The Command of the Force rotates among the contributing nations, which allocate personnel to its International Staff.