The crew of German Navy replenishment ship FGS Berlin are returning home from an Aegean Sea deployment with a special milestone that was the result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
FGS Berlin will enter its Wilhelmshaven homeport on September 17, after over five months of operations as part of Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 (SNMG 2).
In those five and half months, the crew spent the longest time onboard without shore leave in the history of the German Navy, the navy said in a statement.
“Of course, the main thing is the joy of being home again. After all, we spent five and a half months in isolation from the outside world due to the pandemic. I am very proud of a crew that has managed this in a disciplined and calm manner – and has done a first-class job,” ship’s commander frigate captain Stefan Klatt said.
During its time in the Aegean, FGS Berlin worked with Turkish and Greek coast guard assets and the European Coastguard and Border Protection Agency (Frontex). The main task of the TEC was to create a situation picture in the Aegean Sea. The task force responsible for patrolling the region currently consists of four to seven ships who operate both on the high seas and, since March 2016, in the territorial waters of Greece and Turkey.
The lead ship of the Type 702 Berlin-class replenishment ships, the largest class in the German Navy, is returning home after covering a total of over 36,000 nautical miles in the NATO support mission.