Minehunter ‘Tajo’ (M-36) to integrate into the Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group Two (SNMCMG-2).

Thursday, February 11, 2021

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Minehunter ‘Tajo’ (M-36) to integrate into the Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group Two (SNMCMG-2).

Thursday, February 11th 2021

Minehunter ‘Tajo’ (M-36) has just departed towards the port of Istanbul (Turkey) to join NATO’s Standing Mine Countermeasures Group 2 (SNMCMG-2). This group is made up of ships belonging to NATO navies and is currently under Turkish command.

The ship was bid farewell by the Commander of the MCM Force, Captain Miguel Cuartero Lorenzo, accompanied by members of his staff, the Commander of the 1st MCM Squadron and the commanders of the other minehunters in port.

After an intense period of readiness, the final phase of the training schedule was marked by the COVID-19 health crisis, which made it necessary to divide the crew into shifts to complete the pending tasks and to exploit the Navy's teleworking capabilities to ensure health and safety. Prior to her departure, a rigorous prevention protocol (test-quarantine-vaccination-test) was carried out for all personnel to be deployed, including possible reservists. Prevention and protection measures will be an essential element during this deployment.

The participation of the ‘Tajo’ in support of NATO's Operation ‘Sea Guardian’, contributing to enhance the awareness of the maritime domain in the Mediterranean and to protect shipping against potential threats, is also faced with enthusiasm by the ship's crew.

During the period in which the ship will be integrated into the SNMCMG-2, under the operational control of the Operations Command (MOPS), the ‘Tajo’ will have the mission of guaranteeing freedom of action and navigation by hunting for mines or explosive devices, and the surveillance of the seabed at the entrance of some ports of countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea. She will also be ready to react in case of crisis in those scenarios where her presence might be required.

The ship also plans to participate in the multinational exercises ‘POSEIDON’ in the Black Sea, ‘ARIADNE’ in Greece and ‘ITALIAN MINEX’ in Italy. On her return to Spain the M-36 will participate in the multinational exercise ‘SPANISH MINEX’, in the waters of the Balearic archipelago, this time organized by the Spanish Navy.

The ship is scheduled to return to Cartagena in early May.

Minehunter ‘Tajo’ (M-36)

Minehunter ‘Tajo’ belongs to the 1st MCM Squadron tasked with different missions; in peacetime, to guarantee the absence of mines in the sea routes to port in all types of scenarios, and act as a guide for merchant ships to port. On the other hand, in wartime, minehunters perform mine clearance operations, as well as guiding ships that are potentially vulnerable to being mined, through safe channels to port.

The M-36 was built by Navantia in Cartagena (Murcia). She was launched on June 10, 2004 and delivered to the Spanish Navy on January 10, 2005.

The ship has participated in different types of missions both, under EUROMARFOR and NATO flags, in the SNMCMG-2, and deployed as far as the Persian Gulf, being the only Spanish minehunter to have crossed the Suez Canal to date.

So far, the ‘Tajo’ has successfully integrated four times into the permanent group SNMCMG-2.

About the Standing NATO MCM Group 2 (SNMCMG-2)

SNMCMG-2 provides NATO with a permanent Mine Countermeasures (MCM) operational capability. Its main mission is to help keep NATO's main ports, naval bases and sea lines of communication open to traffic, as well as to enable amphibious operations to safely project naval power over land by detecting, locating, identifying and neutralizing mines. Spain is expected to take command of this permanent group in the second half of this year.


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