On 22 December 2015 a memorandum of understanding was signed in Rome between NATO/STO/CMRE and the Ministry of Defence of Italy.
Vice Admiral Claudio Gaudiosi, Deputy Chief of Staff of the Italian Navy (on behalf of the Italian Ministry of Defence), and Rear Admiral (Rtd) Hank Ort, CMRE Director (on behalf of STO/CMRE), put their signature to the agreement which provides a new stable and cost effective operating model for the two NATO-owned research ships, the NATO Research Vessel Alliance and the Coastal Research Vessel Leonardo, for the remainder of their operating lives.
Effective from 1 January 2016 both ships will be operated by an Italian military crew under an Italian military flag. The vessels will keep supporting CMRE to fulfil its mission and they will continue to operate for the common benefit of all NATO member nations.
Moreover, the memorandum enhances the strategic partnership between STO/CMRE and the Italian Navy, and completes the CMRE reform implementation started in 2012.
“Our ships are among the most valuable CMRE assets to face the current new business model and challenges”, told RADM Ort. “This new steady solution preserves our current sea-going capability and confirms scope to operate in a wide spectrum of scientific deployments”.
CMRE Research Vessels’ specifications are available online.