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Sep 16 2021

NATO ships participate in Exercise Sandy Coast 2021

EEMSHAVEN, Netherlands – Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group One (SNMCMG1) participated in Exercise Sandy Coast off the northern Netherlands coast Aug. 23 to Sep. 10, 2021.

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Commander, Netherlands, Maritime Forces (COMNLMARFOR), led the exercise with participation from the Admiralty Benelux (ABNL) Belgian-Dutch combined staff embarked aboard HNLMS Mercuur.

Flagship FGS Elbe, FGS Homburg, LVNS Talivaldis, FS Croix du Sud and USNS Carson City participated in the international mine countermeasures exercise. They coordinated with ships from Netherlands and Belgium to improve international interoperability and enhance naval mine countermeasures capabilities in a simulated environment.

"Exercise Sandy Coast was a great opportunity to practice cooperation and interoperability with ships outside SNMCMG1. Despite adverse weather conditions, SNMCMG1 recovered an impressive number of mines in a very short amount of time. This exercise was enriching for our group and constant practice makes us better at keeping sea lanes and ports safe for all mariners because we are stronger when we work together," said Commander of SNMCMG1, Captain Sam Brasfield (United States Navy)

Exercise Sandy Coast was a great opportunity to practice cooperation and interoperability with ships outside SNMCMG1. Despite adverse weather conditions, SNMCMG1 recovered an impressive number of mines in a very short amount of time. This exercise was enriching for our group and constant practice makes us better at keeping sea lanes and ports safe for all mariners because we are stronger when we work together

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Despite adverse weather conditions, SNMCMG1 spent 68 hours clearing an area of five square nautical miles and 62 hours conducting mine recovery operations in shallow waters off the Dutch coast. Clearance divers from the Portuguese and Latvian Navies conducted approximately eight hours of diving operations identifying and recovering mine like contacts. SNMCMG1 units recovered 16 mine shapes in during the exercise.

The harbour protection phase of the exercise challenged maritime explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) units from Netherlands, France and the United States using scenario based drills. EOD units responded to improvised explosive threats ashore and in very shallow waters to protect maritime infrastructure.

The exercise provided a unique opportunity to challenge participants by exercising shore-based mine countermeasure tactics and explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) techniques and procedures focusing on harbor protection.

After completion of Exercise Sandy Coast, SNMCMG1 visited Cardiff, Wales for rest and re-supply before participating in exercise Joint Warrior/Dynamic Mariner 2021 off the western coast of Scotland.

Story by Public Affairs Office at MARCOM

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