Standing NATO MCM Group 1 concludes participation in OPEN SPIRIT 2018
BALTIC SEA – The ships of Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group One (SNMCMG1) concluded Open Spirit 2018 on May 25.
Open Spirit is a multinational naval mine clearance and ordnance disposal operation, conducted in the Baltic Sea. This year the operation was led by the Estonian Naval Force and took place in two main areas, around Tallin, and around the islands of Saaremaa and Hiiumma, during the period 11 to 25 May. The aim of the operation is 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 addition, it offers allies and partners an opportunity to train alongside each other.
A total of 800 personnel, 20 different mine countermeasure ships, from 15 different countries, which also included ships from NATO's Standing Mine Countermeasures Group 1, participated in the exercise. Over the course of the exercise SNMCMG1 found a total of 44 historical ordnance, of which 32 were countermined. The group also found 25 minechairs, which is also important to correctly map the historical mine lines.
SNMCMG1 currently consists of the flagship HNLMS Mercuur (Netherlands), FGS Bad Bevensen (Germany), HNoMS Otra (Norway), BNS Narcis (Belgium), HNLMS Urk (Netherlands), MCM Denmark and Portugese Navy Divers.
"In 2018 we have conducted search operations in Norway, off the the French coast in Normandy, and now in the Gulf of Finland off Talinn" said Commander of SNMCMG1, Commander Peter Ramboor. "We will now stay in the area as a NATO Group, because we want to show we are ready to defend and ensure the security and stability of this important region."
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 Latvia.