Standing NATO MCM Group 1 concludes participation in OPEN SPIRIT 2017
BALTIC SEA – The ships of Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group One (SNMCMG1) concluded OPEN SPIRIT 2017 on 31 Aug.
OPEN SPIRIT is a multinational Partnership for Peace naval mine clearance and ordnance disposal operation, conducted in the Baltic Sea. This year the operation was led by the Latvian Naval Force and took place inside Latvian territorial waters, in the Irbe Straight area, lasting from 18 to 31 of August.
The aim of the operation was to clear the sea lanes, international shipping routes and fishing areas from the threat posed by the explosives laid and lost in the Baltic during the First and the Second World Wars.
In cooperation with other participants of OPEN SPIRIT, SNMCMG1 vessels searched for a vest area of the seabed, identified 260 objects and found and countermined 9 historic explosives.
"After concluding OPEN SPIRIT and besides the training, the results of the searched areas will provide a better knowledge of seabed and explosives in Latvian waters. This represents one of our main tasks – to give the population in general and those leaving in coastal areas, a greater confidence that their waters are safe for shipping and fishing" said Commander of SNMCMG1, Commander Gvido Laudups, Latvian Naval Forces.
This year's operation OPEN SPIRIT 2017 featured participants from 10 countries: Belgium, Canada, Estonia, France, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland and the UK, involving 15 ships and six unexploded ordnance clearance dive teams.
SNMCMG1 currently consists of flagship LVNS Virsaitis (Latvia), ENS Sakala (Estonia), FGS Sulzbach-Rosenberg (Germany) and HNoMS Rauma (Norway).
OPEN SPIRIT is organized by the navies of the Baltic States and takes place once a year on a rotational basis in Estonia, Latvia or Lithuania. Last year OPEN SPIRIT was hosted by Lithuania and in 2015 by Estonia.