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.
Norwegian shipbuilder Bergen Group Services announced it has received a one-year contract extension for the service of Royal Norwegian Navy vessels, less than a month after losing a NOK 700 million (approx. $83 million) contract for the upkeep of Nansen-class frigates.
On June 22, Norwegian Armed Forces announced it chose OneCo for frigate maintenance over Bergen who was previously in charge of the work.
The armed forces cited cost savings as the main driver behind the decision.
The June 30 contract extension for the maintenance and repair of some of the Norwegian Navy’s vessel categories will, to some extent, offset the loss of the frigate contract for Bergen.
The company said the framework contract has generated a number of smaller jobs since August 2014, in addition to two major assignments with inspection and survey project (5-year classing) on two minesweepers with a total order value of NOK 25-30 million and a total project period of 8 months.
“Bergen Group Services is pleased that the Defence has chosen to exercise the option to extend this framework agreement until 1 August 2018,” said Bergen Group Services CEO Frode Johansson. “The lack of an extension on the frigate-contract as from 1 July this year does not change the fact that we still consider the Norwegian Armed Forces to be a preferred and important customer in the coming years. We maintain our ambition to uphold the company’s well established expertise and capacity related to carry out complex maritime projects and service operations.”