NATO Disposes Eight Historical Sea Mines From Seabed

One of NATO`s four standing multinational maritime groups, Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group 1 (SNMCMG 1) has recently conducted a Historical Ordnance Disposal (HOD) Operations along the north coast of France. In total they have disposed eight historical sea mines from the seabed.

The HOD Operation ran between March 23 and April 5 in the area of Le Tréport. In total six ships from six different nations were involved in the operation, searching an area of 20,3 square nautical miles and disposed of eight historical ordnances. The operation identified 94 underwater objects in total, after which these were examined more closely by underwater remotely controlled vehicles or divers.

By disposing the sea mines and other historical ordnances, the group made the sea a safer place for fishermen, merchant shipping, underwater operations and oil and gas installations. Although the mines are no longer active, they still pose a threat if they are exposed to an anchor, underwater installations, divers or other operations on the seabed. By removing the explosives, they also removed the threat.

SNMCMG1 dispose of old war bomb
SNMCMG1 disposed of an old war bomb during French Historic Ordonance Disposal on the 25th of March, outside Le Trepore on the Northern Coast of France. Gathered around the disposal site were FGS Donau, BNS Bellis, HMS Grimsby, HNLMS Willemstad | Image Credits: nato.int

The recently cleared area will in the future facilitate a windmill-farm outside Le Tréport, France.

SNMCMG1 is one of four standing forces that comprise the maritime component of the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF), which is part of the NATO Response Force (NRF). To respond to contingency situations additional forces can be added to these groups, with the NATO command staff on board and the ships of the group as the nucleus, capable of providing timely support to NATO operations.

SNMCMG1 was comprised of six assets during the operation: BNS Bellis (Belgium), FS Andromède (France), HNLMS Willemstad (Netherlands), HNoMS Otra (Norway), HMS Grimsby (Great Britain) and flagship FGS Donau (Germany).

NATO Clears Historic Ordnances Along French Coast
HNOMS Otra approaching FGS Donau to refuel during French HOD-ops. The Commanding officer of Donau is handing over a gift to the crew of Otra | Image Credits: nato.int

In 2019 NATO Mine Countermeasures operations cleared from mines and other historic ordnances a total of 220 square nautical miles of Allied territory.

Quotes

” By working closely together also in times of crisis, SNMCMG1 continues to conduct our operations. By removing historical ordnances from the seabed we keep the sea lines of communication safe for modern seafarers.” – Commander of Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group One, Commander S.G. Henning Knudsen-Hauge

Quick Facts

· SNMCMG1 is one of four standing forces that comprise the maritime component of the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF), which is part of the NATO Response Force (NRF). To respond to contingency situations additional forces can be added to these groups, with the NATO command staff onboard and the ships of the group as the nucleus, capable of providing timely support to NATO operations.

Sniper launch_NATO Clears Historic Ordnances Along French Coast
Image Credits: nato.int

· SNMCMG1 was comprised of six assets during the operation: BNS Bellis (Belgium), FS Andromède (France), HNLMS Willemstad (Netherlands), HNoMS Otra (Norway), HMS Grimsby (Great Britain) and flagship FGS Donau (Germany).

· In 2019, NATO Historic Ordnance Operations Alliance-wide achieved: finding 2,027 mine-like objects, of which 148 were mines and 63 other pieces of historic ordnance, clearing an area of 220 square nautical miles.

· Commander S.G. Henning Knudsen-Hauge of the Royal Norwegian Navy took the command of SNMCMG1 on January 15, 2020 in a ceremony at the Akershus Fortress, in Oslo, Norway. He will serve as the Commander of the NATO Group for 6 months.

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