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NATO Mine Counter-Measures Groups Meet In Amsterdam Ahead of HOD Operations

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands – Friday, both Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Groups ONE and TWO (SNMCMG1 and SNMCMG2) arrived in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, in advance of historic ordnance disposal (HOD) operation BENEFICIAL COOPERATION.

Simultaneous participation by both Groups in HOD operations represents a great opportunity to increase interoperability between Mine Countermeasures (MCM) assets of Allied nations and to strengthen mutual understanding, cooperation and cohesion.

SNMCMG1, led by CDR Peter Bergen Henegouwen, is currently composed of the Group flagship FGS Donau (Germany) and the five minehunters ORP MEWA (Poland), HMS Pembroke (UK), BNS LOBELIA (Belgium), FGS AUERBACH (Germany) and HNLMS WILLEMSTAD (Netherlands).

SNMCMG2, led by Captain Giovanni Piegaja, is currently composed of the Group flagship ITS EURO (Italy), and the two minehunters TCG ANAMUR (Turkey) and FGS BAD BEVENSEN (Germany).

The two SNMCMGs will take part in a series of activities aimed to clear the sea bottom of mines, bombs, and torpedoes from previous wars off Dutch and Belgian coasts. Unexploded ordnance (UXO) can jeopardize the safety of civilian and military maritime operations alike.  The SNMCMGs will be focused on searching, identifying and subsequently neutralizing UXO.

HOD operations also represent an opportunity to test Autonomous Underwater Vehicles’ (AUV) effectiveness in challenging conditions characterized by strong tidal currents and poor underwater visibility. On board ITS Euro, a team of specialized divers will work with a "REMUS 100" AUV for searching and classifying HOD.

"We are fortunate to have the opportunity to simultaneously deploy both our mine counter-measures groups in support of such important work,” said Vice Admiral Bruno Paulmier, Deputy Commander NATO Allied Maritime Command. "These HOD operations not only sharpen the skills of our Allied mine counter-measures forces, but also make the coastal waters of our Allies safer for all maritime traffic.”

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