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NATO Mine-Hunters visit Gdynia before major multinational exercises


GDYNIA, Poland – Last Friday, Standing NATO Mine Counter-Measures Group 1 (SNMCMG1) pulled into Gdynia’s naval harbor for a port visit in advance of multinational exercises and historic ordnance disposal (HOD) operations.

The Group’s flagship FGS DONAU, an ELBE-class German tender, and the five mine hunters FGS AUERBACH (Germany), BNS LOBELIA (Belgium), HMS PEMBROKE (UK) and ORP MEWA (Poland) frequently conduct HOD operations in an effort to minimize the threat from mines back to the 20th century world wars for all those who use the sea for their benefit – fishermen, cargo ships, ferries and the like.

The commander of the group, Commander Peter Bergen Henegouwen (NLD N) led a delegation composed of the ship’s commanding officers on visits to the Mayor of Gdynia and by the senior military representative, Vice Admiral Stanislaw Zarychta, at the Polish Navy’s Maritime Operations Centre - Maritime Component Command.

This delegation was also received by the 3rd Ships Flotilla’s Commander, Rear Admiral Miroslaw Mordel while the ships were hosted by the 13th MCM Squadron led by Commander Piotr Sikora, former Commander of the SNMCMG1 in 2013.

SNMCMG1 (Standing NATO Mine Counter-Measures Group 1) provides a continuous maritime mine countermeasures capability for operations in peacetime and periods of conflict. The force demonstrates the support of the contributing nations to the NATO alliance. SNMCM Groups are key assets in the NATO Response Force (NRF) and are able to fulfil a wide range of roles from humanitarian tasks to high intensity operations. They are able to deploy at short notice and are often the first assets to go into an operational theatre both enabling and making a significant contribution to subsequent naval operations.

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