NATO conducted an exercise with Israel, called “Crystal Sea” in late October, 2019. NATO notes that it was “designed to develop regional medical support to ensure that any health issue among the crew on board military ships participating in Operation Sea Guardian can be addressed quickly, wherever the ships are sailing at the time.”
In this case the Greek frigate Navarinon and Romanian frigate Regele Ferdinand simulated calls for a medivac to an Israeli hospital. Using a helicopter Israel conveyed the simulated wounded. In addition “a medical team was sent to the third simulated incident on the Bulgarian frigate Verni.” NATO notes that “Israel is the first NATO partner to participate in an exercise with Operation Sea Guardian. Crystal Sea is in its second year allowing NATO to build additional medical interoperability in the southern part of the Eastern Mediterranean.”
In an interview with Navy Captain Yuval Ayalon, the Head of the Planning and Organization Department of the Israeli Navy, he discussed the exercise and the visit of the Vice Admiral of the NATO Navy to an Israeli Naval base. It was an “example of partnership Israel and NATO, Crystal Sea 2019, second joint exercise of the Israel navy and NATO maritime forces,” he said. It took place on October 31 and included a medical inboarding and wounded sailors to hospital in Haifa.” This helps the crews know each other and make operations a professional way, as part of Crystal Sea 2019 the Medivac with two helicopters flying to Rambam hospital and in addition medical teams from Israel navy traveled to different ships at sea to give medical treatment to NATO ships.”
It helps the different navies respond to incidents at sea. “We did capabilities also establish surgery room on our ship and we know how to operate surgery rooms,” says the Israeli captain. “this years our navy was announced officially as key partner of Easter Mediterranean assistance for NATO for medical issues; and the Israel navy and IDF welcomes cooperation with NATO and we are very happy we are a key partner in EastMed and as medical aid.”
Israel discussed with the senior NATO officer how to deepen cooperation on various topics.” Israel desires to continue this cooperation. “We believe in mutual interests in maritime arena and professional relationship of parties, it was a good experience and good opportunity to understand each other and make cooperation stronger; in our area it is important to work together in medical situation; we want to help each other, so we can help them and give them aid,” the Israeli officer said.
NATO notes that “partnerships are essential to NATO’s success and contribute to improved security for the broader international community. As part of Operation Sea Guardian and its cooperation with NATO Mediterranean partners, Commander of NATO’s Maritime Command, Vice Admiral Keith Blount made a visit to the NATO units during their visit to Israel’s port of Haifa on Monday, Nov. 4, 2019.”