Commander Mika Raunu, Commander of the 4th Mine Counter-Measures Squadron is the exercise’s commander.
This year’s edition of the exercise is broader in scope compared to previous editions, according to the exercise commander. In addition to artillery firing, mine counter-measures drills and seamanship and navigation exercises, unmanned aerial vehicles and remotely operated mine countermeasures systems are incorporated into the evolutions.
The Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group 1 (SNMCMG1) arrived in Tallinn for a scheduled port visit over the weekend to to replenish the ship’s supplies and prepare for upcoming exercises.
During the visit the vessels are to make preparations for returning to sea and will give members of the crew the chance to rest for a few days, military spokespeople in Tallinn said. After the visit the NATO ships will remain in Estonia to carry out several exercises and be prepared for the upcoming mine clearance operation.
“The presence of NATO naval units and the clearance of World War era mines will make Estonian waterways safer for us all,” Cmdr. Peeter Ivask, commander of the fleet of the Estonian Navy, said.
Head of the SNMCMG1 Lt. Capt. Gvido Laudups on Friday also visited the headquarters of the Estonian defense forces and the NATO command element and met with Meelis Oidsalu, deputy secretary general of the Defense Ministry for defense planning.
As of June 29, SNMCMG1 is headed by Latvian Lt. Capt. Gvido Laudups, who took over the position from Estonian Cmdr. Johan-Elias Seljamaa of the Estonian Navy. The flagship of the group is the Latvian Navy’s support vessel LVNS Virsaitis. The Estonian minehunter Sakala is also part of the international unit this half-year.
German Navy’s Frankenthal-class minehunter FGS Sulzbach-Rosenberg will be joining NATO’ Standing Mine Counter Measure Group 1 (SNMCMG1) operating in the Baltic and North Seas, the German Navy has announced.
The minehunter is set to depart its home port of Kiel, Germany, on July 28 to spend the following five months with the NATO maritime group.
Sulzbach-Rosenberg is expected to formally join the SNMCMG1 in a ceremony scheduled to take place in the Latvian city of Liepaja on July 30. The ship will be joining its Latvian, English and Dutch counterparts to form the backbone of the group.
Led by Corvette Captain Pierre Limburg, the minehunter’s 45 strong crew will be taking part in a number of international exercises including Open Spirit, Joint Warrior and Northern Coasts
Throughout its deployment, the ship will be home to a five-man diving team from Lithuania.
SNMCMG1 is currendly led by Latvian Commander Gvido Laudups from aboard the support ship Virsaitis.