HS Prometheus in Haifa port.
(photo credit: ANNA AHRONHEIM)
The Greek warship HS Prometheus docked in Haifa Port on Tuesday as part of summer training for Hellenic Navy cadets and will take part in several joint exercises with the Israel Navy.
The HS Prometheus supports the long-range missions of the Greek naval force and is headed by Capt. Athanasios Spanos. The ship has 133 Hellenic Naval cadets onboard, along with cadets from the Greek Air Force and medical academies and two Romanian cadets.
Spanos told The Jerusalem Post that the cadets are scheduled to train on Wednesday with Israel Navy vessels on communication and attack-andreact drills.
“Every year we strengthen our cooperation,” Spanos said during a reception onboard the ship Monday evening, adding that there was a “great connection” between the Israeli and Greek navies.
According to Spanos, “It could be a good idea for the future to have Israeli cadets on the ship during the drill” so that Israelis would be able learn from their Greek counterparts.
While the vessel’s main role is to act as a logistics support vessel, it is also capable of performing civil protection roles in times of crisis.Israel maintains broad cooperation and has participated
in several military exercises of air, sea, and ground forces with the Mediterranean country, especially following the downgrading of ties with Greece’s adversary, Turkey.
“The Greeks are a major and natural strategic partner,” a senior international cooperation officer told the Post in a recent interview. “Someone had to fill the empty spot when we stopped doing drills with the Turks,” he added.
In January, President Reuven Rivlin, Israel Navy commander R.-Adm. Eli Sharvit and other officials visited Greek’s fleet headquarters at the Salamis Naval Base.
According to a statement released by the Greek Navy, during the visit the Israeli officials were briefed on the activities of the Greece’s navy and on matters of cooperation between the armed forces of the two states.
The following month, IDF Chief of Staff Lt.- Gen. Gadi Eisenkot visited Athens, hosted by his counterpart, Adm. Evangelos Apostolakis, during which the two discussed common security challenges, the conflict in the Middle East, regional security developments and future military cooperation.
The close ties between Israel and Greece are based on a number of shared strategic interests.
While both Israel and Greece share economic interests, such as the ambitious project to build an underseas gas pipeline from Israel to Cyprus to Crete to mainland Greece, both countries also hope to keep the Russian-Iranian-Hezbollah axis from growing.
The HS Prometheus, on a month-long training voyage, docked in Haifa after port visits to Tunisia and Alexandria. During a two-day visit in Egypt, the Greek sailors trained with Egyptian and Italian naval units on exercises aimed at protecting maritime vessels while crossing dangerous areas, as well as how to exchange takeoffs and landings of jets on the surfaces of naval units.
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