SNMCMG1 Working Night and Day
A World War II-era sea mine is safely detonated off the coast of France. The water column from the explosion reveals that the explosives in the mine were still very much active even after all these years.
Apr 13, 2018
By Commander Junior Grade Anna Prehn and Lieutenant Commander Valerie
DIEPPE BIGHT (April 13, 2018) Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group One (SNMCMG1) has just completed Historical Ordinance Disposal Operations (HODOPS) with the French Navy on the French side of the English Channel.
During the HODOPS, SNMCMG1 surveyed more than 90 square kilometres in Dieppe Bight. A total of 6 aircraft bombs and 2 mines were found.
As the ships conduct Mine Counter Measures Operations, the crews shift into an exhausting work schedule of six hours on duty followed by six hours off duty. Meaning that the ships and their crews are conducting mine clearance surveys 24 hours a day ensuring every centimetre of the seabed is accurately mapped and dangerous historical explosives are identified for neutralization.
German minehunter FGS Bad Bevensen (Crew DELTA) hosted a Portuguese Diving Team to work in coordination with the ship’s Pinguin B3 (Remotely Operated Vehicle) for Identification and mine neutralization or destruction. Even with good weather, the currents can sometimes be treacherous, meaning that diving had to take place within strict time limits. The Pinguin B3, nicknamed the "Wilde Hilde” also had to work through significant currents, but weighing in at 1350kg, was able to maintain its course as needed.
In addition to actual mines and bombs, 133 bottom objects were identified. Each identification even of a stone at the bottom reduces the risk to shipping and fishing in the area.
SNMCMG1 is led by Belgian Navy Commander Peter Ramboer and currently consists of flagship Dutch support ship HNLMS Mercuur, Royal Navy mine countermeasures vessel HMS Cattistock, German Navy mine hunter FGS Bad Bevensen, Belgian mine hunter BNS Narcis and Norwegian minesweeper HNoMS Otra.