NATO Minehunters Complete Sweep of Northern Norwegian Coast
TRONDHEIM, Norway - Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group One (SNMCMG1) completed Norwegian MINEX August 25, 2016 in Trondheim, Norway.
The exercise involved minesweeping ships from five NATO Allies sweeping sections of Norway's coastal waters for historical mines from Hammerfest in the high north all the way down to Trondheim over a three week period.
Looking for real mines in coastal waters is an opportunity for the ships in the NATO Group to hone their individual skills and to work together as a group. It has the added benefit of clearing historical mines from the water, disposing of the munitions of previous conflicts.
Cmdr Johan-Elias Seljamaa, Commander of SNMCMG1, led Lithuanian Navy minehunter LNS Skalvis (M53), Estonian minehunter ENS Sakala (M314), Latvian minesweeper LVNS Imanta (M-04) and HNoMS Måløy (M342) from the SNMCMG1 flagship German replenishment ship FGS Elbe (A 514).
During the exercise the group found more than 450 objects of interest, of which 24 turned out to be historical ordinance. Of the ordinance, 8 were destroyed and position of the rest was handed over to Norwegian authorities for disposal in future national operations.
"Three weeks of historical ordinance disposal operations in northern Norway have been valuable for the group since we were able to hunt in actual minefields, which provides excellent training," said Cmdr Seljamaa, "We were able to provide for our hosts tangible results mapping the seafloor and countermining historical mines, making Norway's waters safer."