The Finnish Navy's Coastal Fleet is holding the International Mine Countermeasures Exercise in the Archipelago Sea, with participants from the Finnish Navy's 4th Mine Countermeasures Squadron and SNMCMG1.
Finland is one of NATO's closest partners, sharing common interests of regional stability and maritime security
"Finland is one of NATO's closest partners, sharing common interests of regional stability and maritime security in the Baltic Sea region. I am glad for the opportunity to train and interact with the Finnish Navy," said the Commander of Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group 1, Henning Knudsen-Hauge.
SNMCMG1 vessels HNoMS Otra and the Dutch minehunter Willemstad is interacting with the Finnish minehunter Purunpaa in Finnish territorial waters on 27 April, 2020.
The exercise is organised at sea, and makes it possible to conduct the exercise without having close contact between the different crews. Due to the threat from COVID-19, no port visits are conducted in Finland.
"The training exercise consists of a series of smaller exercises that focus on not only on mine countermeasures operations, but also on seamanship and coastal navigation. The smaller exercises have been planned to account for the situation caused by COVID-19, so that there will be no close contact between the crews", said the Commander of the Finnish 4th Mine Countermeasures Squadron, Commander Juhani Lehtimäki.
SNMCMG1 vessels HNoMS Otra and the Dutch minehunter Willemstad interacting with the Finnish minehunter Purunpaa in Finnish territorial waters on 27 April, 2020.
"It is very good that we are able to organise this exercise. It is important preparation for us, in view of further common exercise periods together with Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group 1 later this year", Lehtimäki added.
This cooperation between SNMCMG1 and the Finnish Navy is based on the Finnish Katanpää-Class mine countermeasure vessels being part of NATO Response Force (NRF) pool for 2020.
From the Finnish side the exercise involved the command echelon of the 4th Mine Countermeasures Squadron and Katanpää-Class mine countermeasure vessel Purunpää. From NATO side, SNMCMG1 brought the German flagship Donau, the Dutch minehunter Willemstad and the Norwegian minesweeper Otra.