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May 23 2022

NATO ships participate in historical ordnance disposal operation OPEN SPIRIT 2022

BALTIC SEA – Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group 1 (SNMCMG1) participated in Operation OPEN SPIRIT 22 in the Baltic Sea, May 9-20.

Open Spirit is a multinational naval mine clearance and ordnance disposal operation, which this year is led by the Lithuanian Navy and takes place at the Baltic Sea in the Lithuanian economic zone.

Open Spirit gives us an opportunity to exercise both planning and execution of mine countermeasures using a very realistic scenario. In addition, every piece of ordnance removed during Open Spirit makes the Baltic Sea safer for everyone and we're proud to be part of that mission.
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SNMCMG1 comprises flagship LVNS Virsaitis (Latvia), ENS Sakala (Estonia), HNLMS Schiedam (Netherlands), HNOMS Hinnoy (Norway), BNS Primula (Belgium), FS Cassiopee (France) and FGS Bad Bevensen (Germany). In addition, both mine hunters and diving units from Lithuania, Poland and the United States are participating in this year's Open Spirit.

The aim of Open Spirit is to clear the Baltic Sea from sea mines, torpedoes, and other explosive remains from both World Wars and the Cold War. Ships are using sonar, underwater robots, and divers to locate and identify the explosive ordnance. After the identification process, found explosives are destroyed.

"Open Spirit gives us an opportunity to exercise both planning and execution of mine countermeasures using a very realistic scenario," Commander, SNMCMG1 Estonian Navy Commander Ott Laanemets said. "In addition, every piece of ordnance removed during Open Spirit makes the Baltic Sea safer for everyone and we're proud to be part of that mission."

Open Spirit is an annual historic ordnance disposal operation since 1997 that rotates between Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.

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Story by Public Affairs Office at MARCOM

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