NATO Warship Discovers Unexploded Ordnance from Previous Conflict
PALMA, MALLORCA, Spain - During the multinational exercise Spanish MINEX 18, the Turkish Minehunter TCG ANAMUR discovered historical unexploded ordnance whilst conducting routine mine countermeasures training. TCG AMANUR is a member of Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group 2 (SNMCMG2) which is taking part in the Spanish exercise in Palma and Mahon from 28 April to 11 May 2018.
The ordnance was discovered at 8.30 P.M. local time on 8 May by TCG ANAMUR, under the command of Lieutenant Commander Bülent Karagöz. The crew was using the ship's specialized sonar to scan the sea bed and the water below for potential exercise mines, instead, the sonar operators detected an object which was thought to be actual live historical ordnance. TCG ANAMUR used her divers to identify the sonar contact and confirmed that the object was in fact historical ordnance from a previous conflict, lying on the seafloor in 38m of water. TCG ANAMUR has six divers on board. They are experienced in dealing with the unexploded ordnance and trained to work in close proximity to dangerous explosives. Following a quick response by Spanish mine hunter ESPS TIMBRE, Spanish divers destroyed the ordnance on the morning of 9 May.
This find is the second unexpected historical ordnance find for SNMCMG2 this year and a confirmation of SNMCMG2's capabilities. Earlier this year, TCG AKÇAY (another Turkish Mine Hunter) found a historical mine in the Black Sea while conducting an exercise with the Romanian Navy.
The commander of SNMCMG2, Royal Navy Commander Justin Hains, noted that it's just part of the skillset that the NATO Mine Countermeasures Groups bring to the fight. "We work hard to ensure the sea remains safe for all of its users. Identification and disposal of historic ordnance is just part of the mission," said Hains.
The NATO group is working alongside units from a EUROMARFOR Mine Countermeasures Group and Spanish Minehunters during Spanish Minex 2018. SNMCMG2 is currently conducting exercises and interoperability training in the Mediterranean Sea and the Black Sea under the command of British Royal Navy Commander Justin Hains. The task group will arrive in Palma on May 9th for the end of Spanish MINEX 18. The Task Group consists of the Flag Ship HMS ENTERPRISE (a Royal Navy Survey vessel), TCG ANAMUR (a Turkish Mine Hunter), ITS ALGHERO (an Italian Mine Hunter) and ESPS SEGURA (a Spanish Mine Hunter).