13 Nov 12
SNMCMG1 executing Historic Ordnance Disposal
Operations off French coast
Monday 05 November the SNMCMG1 (Standing NATO Mine Counter Measures
Group 1 has been conducting historical ordnance disposal operations off
the French coast in the Bay of the Somme and has been very successful at
it with already 10 WWII mines and two aircraft bombs countermined.
NATO maritime group, led by Commander Yvo Jaenen from the Belgian Navy
consists at this moment of three mine hunters coming from Estonia (ENS
Sakala), Belgium (BNS Narcis) and Germany (FGS Fulda). For the French
HOD operation the group was joined by the French mine hunter Eridan and
the flagship BNS Godetia is providing logistic support and command
facilities for the whole Group.
HODOPS is an annual Mines Countermeasure operation off the Baie de Somme
which is aiming at countermining historical ordnance remaining from
WWII. SNMCMG1 is already participating since 2009 and by now an
estimated 400 square nautical miles of sea area have already been
covered. The objectives for such an ordnance clearance operation is to
assure the safety of navigation for all seafarers whilst at the same
time providing valuable training and realistic drills in countermining
The Group will continue
its operations until 15 November and will then conduct a port visit
to Le Havre for
some rest, recreation and replenishment.
18 Oct 12
SNMCMG1 successfully concludes
exercise Joint Warrior
the last 2 weeks, the Standing NATO Mine Counter Measures Group 1
participated in the exercise Joint Warrior 12-2. In this UK-led,
advanced tier 2 exercise, the SNMCMG1 was part of the Multi National
Force led by COMNLMARFOR.
Main focus for the Mine Counter Measures (MCM) vessels was put on
long-term MCM operations in a multi threat environment.
After a fruitful weekend in Faslane with initial briefings, the exercise
started with a ‘swarmex’; an experimental tactic on countering the fiac
threat. Continuing the exercise with force integration training, it
ended with a 7 days tactical phase.
this last part the snmcmg1 conducted MCM operations on the approaches of
and in a number of lochs like loch ewe and loch broom leading to
Ullapool. While executing their primary role they were challenged and
needed to cope with a constant air threat. During Joint
Warrior a lot of underwater contacts were found and identified by ROV-s
or shipboard divers. In total 9 mines, 125 rocks, 1 uncharted wreck and
25 obstructors were identified; the electronic databases of the UK
hydrographical Organization will be filled a little more!
25 Sep 12
SNMCMG1 conducts Successful Replenishment at Sea
As SNMCMG1 left Oslo to reach its next
destination in Edinburgh across the North Sea, the group was joined by
HNLMS Vlaardingen and HNLMS Schiedam to take part in a scheduled ABNL
PASSEX exercise. During this exercise the main emphasis was on one of
the most difficult manoeuvre there is Replenishment at sea (RAS).
ships, like mine hunters have limited storage facilities which limits
the time they can stay at sea before they have to take on more supplies.
Maximum endurance is usually between 1-2 weeks, so a swift and safe RAS
is important part of any mine hunting operation and it needs to be
is considered to be one of the more difficult manoeuvres you can do at
sea in peacetime. It needs a lot of coordination between two units,
which is even harder to achieve when you are working with a
multinational group with differences in onboard RAS equipment.
With ships approaching each other as close
as 40 meters while underway and passing fuel from one to another, one
simple mistake can cause a dangerous situation or even an oil spill.
for RAS vary depending on the situation, for example you can replenish
while alongside of an anchored ship or while sailing, taking station
astern of the tanker; cargo transfers can be done using boat or
are grateful that the Royal Netherlands Navy ships provided us with the
opportunity to sail and train with them and they showed us where we meet
on standards when carrying out our exercises. After all, the main
objective for the ships in SNMCMG1 is to learn from each other and from
25 Sep 12
SNMCMG1 participates in exercise DANEX-NOCO
from port of Ghent, FGS Fulda, part of SNMCMG1, sailed to Frederikshavn
(Denmark) and joined DANEX-NOCO (Danish Exercise-Northern Coast), a
multi-national live exercise conducted at sea around the northern parts
of Denmark, which provided excellent exercise opportunities offering a
wide span of training activities for maritime units. Amongst more than
20 participating units were frigates, corvettes, MCMVs, fast patrol
boats, several support ships and various types of aircraft.
key task for the MCMV's embedded in the maneuver was mine hunting.
DANEX/NOCO particularly offered great opportunities to practice joint
maritime operations with other types of units thus complementing their
the first week of the maneuver the Force engaged in air defense
exercises which were later peaked by multi target exercises with live
shooting at air and surface targets at the same time. Aside from this
time was used to practice basic seamanship like search and rescue
operations, mailbag transfer and replenishment at sea as well as towing
the second phase of DANEX-NOCO the group was tasked to conduct time
restrained mine hunting in areas where practice mines of different sorts
were especially laid. The challenge was even more amplified by the fact
that the operating units of the Force at all times faced air, sea and
asymmetric threats. With the assistance of protective units FGS Fulda
and the other SNMCMG1 ships remained save. Ultimately the Force proved
itself very capable to coordinate with various units of other nations,
and successfully completed the assigned (exercise)mine hunting task.
17 Sep 12
NATO Mine Countermeasures Capabilities: a pivotal
Feature for the Alliance
Sunday the 16th of September Rear Admiral Hank Ort, Chief of Staff of
the Allied Maritime Command in Northwood visited the Standing NATO Mine
Counter Measure Group 1 (SNMCMG1) during the port visit in Oslo, Norway.
After a brief by the commander of the group Commander Yvo Jaenen of the
Belgium navy, they visited the Estonian ESN Sakala and the Norwegian
HNoMS Karmøy. Admiral Ort was informed about the latest techniques in
countering maritime ordnances and he met with a number of crewmembers,
who clearly enjoyed the port of Oslo but were very keen to get to sea
again for their next UK exercise Joint Warrior.
dinner with all ships' commanders of SNMCMG1, Rear Admiral Ort
congratulated them with the achievements of the group during the
Danish-German led exercise Danex-Noco, where 7 historical explosive
ordnances were taken out of sealanes in the west Baltic. These
unexploded devices are often remainders of the second world war and do
occasionly harm ships and crew to date.
"The group has proven over the last weeks to be very effective in
countering mines, and are therefore delivering a very important service
to the maritime community: 'safety at sea'. More generally, being able
to exercise with this amount of ships from so many nations, contributes
to maritime security in the long term and is a pivotal feature of the
alliance" said rear admiral Ort.
13 Sep 12
NATO Mine Countermeasures Group 1 participates in
vessels assigned to SNMCMG1 are currently participating in a large
Danish-German led exercise organised in the Western Baltic Sea. The
participating units are training together to face an emerging conflict
situation. SNMCMG1 units are training alongside NATO partners such as
Sweden, Finland and Russia. The goal of the
exercise is to train participating units to cooperate in coastal
operations in an ‘out of area’ and unstable environment.
order to deal with this simulated crisis, almost 50 naval vessels are
divided into two task forces, each with its own chain of command. The
first week consists of planned exercises in order to ‘synchronise’
each participant’s operational procedures. During week two, which has
just started, the participants are no longer informed of the scenario’s
evolution and have to adapt to the rapidly unfolding situation.
Communication is vital in all operations and exercises. Therefore, the
Commander in charge of the Multinational Task Force, to which all
SNMCMG1 units have been assigned, invited all his deputy commanders to a
meeting on board HNoMS Roald Amundsen. During this meeting the
Commander, Commodore Amundsen personally gave his instructions and
guidance for the upcoming free play phase of the exercise.
Thetis has joined the SNMCMG1 vessels, and together they form a Mine
Countermeasures Task Unit under COMSNMCMG1’s command. During the entire
exercise the Task Unit does what it does best: countermining ordnances.
Clearing exercise mines, the Task Unit provides safe navigation routes
for all maritime transit. Today SNMCMG1 vessels cleared an important sea
route of exercise mines, enabling the exercise scenario to evolve.
30 Aug 12
NATO Group Visits the port of Ghent
The Mine Countermeasures (MCM) group paid a visit to the port of Ghent.
The commanding officers were personally welcomed by the Port Captain
Dirk Vernaeve. The MCM vessels in return held ´open ship´ to give the
inhabitants of Ghent the opportunity to board the vessels and learn
about the Navy
life first hand. To conclude the weekend a large fire exercise was held.
During the exercise the civilian emergency services and ship’s crews
worked closely together to extinguish the exercise fire. On Monday
morning the ships left for sea after a very successful weekend.
28 Aug 12
SNMCMG1 Ends Operation Beneficial Cooperation
With A Celebration
the last two weeks SNMCMG1 has participated in Beneficial Cooperation
off the coast of the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Belgium. The
NATO participation has been very successful, 16 historical ordnances
have been cleared from the continental shelf. A very unique explosion
took place on the 23rd of August, the HNLMS Willemstad
countermined the 1000th ordnance since the beginning of Beneficial
Coordination in 2005. Achieving this milestone called for a small
celebration on board of the Flagship BNS Godetia. Both Vice Admiral
Mattieu Borsboom (Commander of the Royal Netherlands Navy) and Captain
Wim Robberecht (Representative of the Belgian / Dutch staff) were
present to celebrate with the crew.
16 Aug 12
SNMCMG1 starts Beneficial
Earlier this week the SNMCM1 Group left
the port of Den Helder (the Netherlands) to conduct historical ordnance
disposal operations in the North Sea, known as Operation Beneficial
During the first couple of days, the SNMCM1 Group has been successful in
unexploded ordnances and has already safely destroyed seven.
During the upcoming week, the Group will continue to participate in
Beneficial Cooperation, and will continue to countermine unexploded
During the first and second World War, numerous mines were placed in the
and thousands of unused aircraft bombs were dropped in these waters.
Many of these
unexploded ordnances are still present today. That they are still a real
shipping became apparent in 2005 when a fishing vessel accidentally
pulled an unexploded
aircraft bomb on board and once on deck it exploded. Sadly, as a result
of this explosion
several fishermen lost their lives.
Below are pictures taken during the explosion of
a mine found by HNLMS Willemstad
8 Aug 12
SNMCMG1 Operational Handover Ceremony
The operational handover of Standing NATO Mine
Counter Measure Group 1 (SNMCMG1) took place in Zeebrugge, Belgium on
Thursday 2 August. Here are some images of the ceremony.
Takes Command of NATO Mine Counter Measures Group
in Zeebrugge, Belgium took command of the permanently established NATO
Mine Countermeasures group 1 (SNMCMG1). The Change of Command ceremony
took place on the Naval Base in Zeebrugge. Commander Yvo Jaenen (Bel)
accepted Command of SNMCMG1 from his Norwegian colleague, Commander Erik
On taking over the Group, Cdr Jaenen said “I am lucky that the Belgian /
Netherlands (ABNL) headquarters offered to fill the capability and
command in 2012 with a bi-national Belgian-Netherlands staff and a
Belgian flagship. When one realizes that a similar capability had
already been provided for the whole of 2011, this demonstrates the
importance ABNL attaches to the Mine Counter Measures Group. I am
convinced of the high training standards and professionalism shown by
the ships in the Group and know that we will be ready for any
14 JUN 2012
SNMCMG1 Takes part in BALTOPS 12
Participated in the 2012 edition of Exercise BALTOPS off the coast of
Lithuania. BALTOPS (Baltic Operations) is an annual military exercise,
held and sponsored by the Commander,
United States Naval
Forces Europe, since 1971, in the
and the regions surrounding it. Participating nations in the exercise
included Denmark, Lithuania, France, Georgia, Germany, Latvia,
Netherlands, Poland, Russia, and Sweden. During the exercise, the Group
had a new opportunity to improve its Mine Warfare capabilities in a
joint and multinational environment. The exercise ended with a
“distinguished visitors” day (DV Day) where the Estonia President,
Toomas Hendrik Ilves, and the US ambassador to Estonia, Michael Polt,
praised the spirit of the Partnership for Peace.
25 MAY 2012
SNMCMG1 Participates in Operation Open Spirit 12
the last two weeks, SNMCMG1 participated in Operation Open Spirit 2012,
conducting mine clearing activities in Estonia’s territorial waters. The
2012 edition of this annual operation brought together 19 ships from 10
countries, including 9 NATO member states – Belgium, the Netherlands,
France, the three Baltic states, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, the
United States, and Canada. Sweden will also join the drills. These
operations are aimed at discovering and defusing the mines which have
been laid in the Baltic Sea during the two world wars and has taken
place every year since 1997. During these two weeks, the group was given
a 22 square Nautical Miles (75.5 Km²) search perimeter and destroyed 4
7 MAY 2012
SNMCMG1 Conducts Port Visit in Turku, Finland
4 and 7 May, SNCMG1 conducted a port visit in Turku in South-West
Finland. After Turku, the Group will now set course for Tallinn, Estonia
where it will prepare for Exercise Open Spirit, the 2012 edition of this
major Mine Clearing Operation in the Baltic.
30 APR 2012
SNMCMG1 Conduct Historic Ordnance Disposal in Latvia
the last two weeks, SNMCMG1 has conducted an extensive Historic Ordnance
Disposal (HOD) operation off the coast of Latvia. On completion of the
operation on 27 April, le group conducted a port visit in Ventspils for
the week end. During this
the group successfully removed 29 mines, 3 torpedoes and identified over
200 submerged objects. After having contributed to making the oceans
safer, the group will now set course for Finland to participate in
Exercise Open Spirit 12.
21 MAR 2012
Participates in Exercise Cold Response 12
12 to 21 March, NATO’s Standing Mine Counter Measure Group 1
participated in the fifth iteration of Exercise Cold Response, hosted by
Norway. During a week, the group trained alongside 16,300 soldiers from
14 countries in this crisis-response exercise whose main purpose is to
rehearse high intensity operations in winter conditions within NATO with
a UN mandate.
was tasked with treating the Mine Warfare aspect of the crisis. The
group’s commander, Commander Erik Hansen declared that “such exercises
provide a priceless opportunity to train in different kinds of warfare
within the framework of a particularly realistic scenario”.
9 March 12
SNMCMG1 in the Polar Circle
for Exercise Cold Response
is currently transiting north towards Harstad, Norway and will then
conduct a port visit in Tromsoe over the weekend.
The force set course for
Northern Norway to participate in the massive joint exercise Cold
Response 2012, in which over 16,000 soldiers will participate. For this
occasion, the group has been expanded with three additional units, and
now comprises 8 ships. The newcomers are: the mine hunters HNOMS Karmoey
and HNOMS Hinnoey, and the auxiliary ship/mine layer HNOMS Tyr.
now the force is about to pass the Polar Circle, and there are rumours
that Neptune is preparing for its arrival. HNLMS Schiedam and BMS
Primula had to stay in Bergen for technical reasons, but will soon
transit north to join their colleagues in SNMCMG1.
a wonderful stay in Bergen, with a perfect weather, everybody is now
looking very much forward to a great weekend in the land of the Northern
Light, before going into "war" during exercise Cold Response 2012.
24 FEB 12
NATO's Mine Counter Measures
Group makes port visit in Sweden
After having completed an intensive security course
in Neustadt and a Port visit in Kiel, SNMCMG1 is now back at sea. Last
week, the group focused on medical training and a series of medical
emergency drills were conducted by the crew of the ships.
conducting replenishment at sea with the Belgian mine hunter BNS
Primula, the group set course for Gothenburg, Sweden where it has just
6 FEB 12
NATO's Mine Counter Measures
Group 1 makes port visit in Neustadt
Friday SNMCMG1 made a port visit in the German city of Neustadt where
the group will stay until the group sets course for Kiel, Germany, where
it will arrive on February 9. During this port visit, the crew of
SNMCMG1 will be using the Neustadt Damage Control Training Centre (EAZ)
and undergo and intensive team training both at land and at sea. The
crew of SNMCMG1 was also welcomed by Neustadt mayor Henning Reimann who
highlighted the importance of the Navy in the town’s identity.
20 Jan 12
A Norwegian Naval Officer
assumes command of NATO's Mine Counter Measures Group 1Today,
Norwegian Commander Erik Hansen assumed command of Standing NATO Mine
Counter Measures Group 1 (SNMCMG 1). He will be in command of this
permanent international flotilla until next summer. Cdr Hansen joined
the Norwegian Navy in 1987 and spent most of his career in the mine
counter measures branch both at sea as Mine Counter Measure Vessel
commanding officer, and at staff level. Cdr Hansen took over from Cdr
Guy Terryn (Belgian Navy) who has been in charge of SNMCMG1 for the past
six months during a handover ceremony which took place in
SNMCMG1 concludes its mine counter measures
campaign in the English Channel
Last Saturday, the three ships currently
participating in SNMCMG1 brought the mine counter measures campaign they
were conducting in the English Channel to a close. During this 12-day
campaign, the three ships were joined by the Belgian mine hunter Narcis
and the French mine hunter Croix du Sud. The five ships ended the
campaign with a port visit in Boulogne-sur-mer, France where they are to
remain until November 15. This port visit was an opportunity to assess
the success of the operation: 4 historical mines were located and
destroyed by the group. Lt Cdr Guy Terryn, who is commanding SNMCMG1,
said that “this result might appear meagre to some, but after years of
clearing the seabed of historical ordnances, fewer and fewer remain for
us to detect”. These efforts will endure and contribute to making the
English Channel a safer place for international shipping.
31 October 11
NATOS conducts a mine counter measures operation
in the English Channel
SNMCMG1 left Cherbourg, France today to
conduct a 12-day mine counter measures operation in the English Channel.
The four mine hunters composing the naval group will be joined later on
by the Polish mine hunter ORT Flaming and are assigned a working zone
off the French city of Dieppe. The last mine counter measure operation
of this type took place in May 2010 and made it possible to locate and
destroy six WW2 German submerged mines. These operations, combined with
other mine counter measures actions carried out by European navies
throughout the year.
17 October 11
SNMCMG1 participates in exercise Joint Warrior
October 3 and 17, SNMG1 participated in exercise Joint Warrior off the
coast of Scotland. This is second edition this year of this major
military exercise involving units from all components (Maritime, Air and
Land). Within the framework of this joint collective training based on a
multi-threat environment, NATO’s SNMCMG1 played its part, gaining
practice in laying and clearing minefields in protection of themselves
and their task groups.
12 September 11
SNMCMG1 participates in exercise Danex-Northern
just participated in the 2011 edition of exercise Danex-Northern Coast
the Baltic Sea, which included 20 frigates and 20 Mine counter measures
vessels. During this intensive 12 days mine counter measures exercise,
Überherrn also managed to identify and destroy an old WW2 submerged
8 September 11
SNMCMG1 rescues a sailing yacht in the Baltic sea
its way back from Swinoujscie, Poland, NATO’s standing maritime counter
measures group 1 successfully rescued a sailing ship in distress. The
German Mine Hunter FGS
assistance to the skipper of the yacht Atalanta which was caught in
severe weather. FGS Überherrn then escorted the sailing ship back to
3 September 11
SNMCMG1 completes port visit in Swinoujscie,
NATO’s standing maritime counter measures group 1 completed a successful
port visit in the polish port of Swinoujscie, in western Poland. On that
occasion, SNMCMG1 conducted joint manoeuvres with the Polish Navy during
which the Polish Navy Mine Hunter ORP Flaming succeeded in detecting and
destroying a WW2 German mine.
14 August 11
SNMCMG1 participates in NATO exercise Beneficial
Cooperation and destroys 11 submerged mines
week, NATO’s SNMCMG1 participated in a mine counter measures exercise
which took place in the Eurogeul, the major shipping lane at the
entrance of the port of Rotterdam. The international NATO naval group,
led by the Dutch Mine hunter HNLMS Vlaardingen contributed to the
identification of numerous submerged objects and to the destruction of
eleven WW2 German influence mines.
29 July 11
A Belgian Naval Officer assumes Command of NATO’s
Mine Counter Measures Group 1
Belgian Lieutenant Commander Guy Terryn assumed command of Standing NATO
Mine Counter Measures Group 1 (SNMCMG 1). He will be in command of this
permanent international flotilla for the next 6 months. SNMCMG 1 is led
and supported since February 2011 by the staff of Admiral BENELUX (ABNL)
based in Den Helder (Netherlands). ABNL in is the Commanding Officer of
the combined military staff of the Royal Netherlands Navy and the Naval
Component of the Belgian Armed Forces. Lt Cdr Guy Terryn took over from
Commander Herman Lammers (Netherlands Navy) who assumed command of
SNMCMG1 during the first part of this year during a handover ceremony
which took place in Zeebrugge, Belgium.
6 May 11
SNMCMG 1 intercepts refugees in Mediterranean Sea
is conducting Operation Active Endeavor. The goal of this operation is
to contribute to overall maritime awareness in the Mediterranean Sea.
The SNMCMG1 consists of the German mine hunter, FGS Datteln and the
Polish support ship ORP Kontradmiral X. Czernicki, with both Belgian and
Netherlands Navy staff in the MCM group. During a patrol of the south
east coast of Spain on 16 June in the early evening, the NATO ships
encountered a small boat with nine refugees on it. The vessel was
approximately 90 kilometres south of the Spanish coastal city of
Cartagena. The NATO ships supplied the vessel with fresh drinking water
and made sure they were all in good physical shape. Having reported the
vessel to the Spanish authorities, they sent an airplane and a boat to
pick up the refugees. The NATO ships watched the small vessel closely to
ensure all people on board remained safe until they boarded the Spanish
6 May 11
Operation Active Endeavour comes to an end for SNMCMG 1
21 April, Standing NATO Mine Counter-Measure Group 1 (SNMCMG1) entered
the Port of Alicante marking the end of participation in NATO's
anti-terrorist Operation Active Endeavour (OAE) for ORP Czernicki and
FGS Datteln. The duty period had begun five weeks earlier
when SNMCMG1 left the port of Malaga on 14 March for the Central
Mediterranean, sailing along the North African coast and contributing to
OAE by compiling a patterns-of-life picture. Following a
period in mid-March establishing Maritime Situational Awareness in the
Central Mediterranean the initial strength of SNMCMG1 was changed as the
nations decided to transfer Hr. Ms. Haarlem, HMS Brocklesby and BNS
Narcis to participate in Operation Unified Protector.
However NATO decided that SNMCMG1 would continue to participate in the
important OAE mission so on 31 March, FGS Datteln and ORP Czernicki,
resumed Operation Active Endeavour along the North African coast.
Story and pictures
09 March 11
NATO Mine Hunters Receive NRF Certificate
28 Feb to 9 March the Mine Hunters of SNMCMG 1 took part in NATO's
Response Force (NRF) maritime exercise 'Noble Mariner' off the coast of
Spain. The NRF commanded by the Spanish Navy used the ten-day exercise
to ensure they are fully prepared to respond to operations or crisis
situations, wherever in the world they may occur. During the exercise
the MCMG1 and its staff were assessed and accordingly awarded the NRF
04 Feb 11
Change of Command for NATO Mine Hunters
the Dutch Commander Herman
W. Lammers took
command of Standing NATO Mine Counter Measures Group 1 (SNMCMG 1)
from the Polish Navy. He
will be in command of NATO’s SNMCMG 1 for the
next 6 months before handing over
to his Belgian colleague Commander Guy Terryn. SNMCMG 1 will be led by
an Admiral BENELUX staff which consists of both Dutch and Belgian
seamen. Commander Lammers said: “The Dutch and Belgians have worked for
such a long time together that we are fully integrated and know how to
work together very well”.
Ryback has been in command of SNMCMG 1 for a year
and reflected on the past year. Being the first Polish Commanding
Officer of the Group, Commander Rybak created history.
In 2010 the Group has conducted Operation
and the Historical Ordnance operation ‘Bay the
Somme’. SNMCMG 1 also took part in various Exercises; Joint Warrior 102,
Danex 2010, Baltops and Brilliant Mariner.
SNMCMG 1 currently consists of the following units:
ORP Kontradmiral X Czernicki (Flagship- Poland), HMS
Brocklesby (UK), BNS Narcis (Belgium), FGS Datteln (Germany) and HNLMS
Haarlem (The Netherlands).
The Commander- in- Chief Vice Admiral Tomasz Mathea
and Vice admiral Hank Ort (NLD –N) Chief of Staff at MC Northwood
attended the ceremony.
29 Nov 10
NATO Minehunters Conduct Operation Beneficial Cooperation
Monday, 22nd November, the six ships of Standing NATO Mine
Countermeasures Group One left the Belgian port Zeebrugge to start the
last mine hunting operation this year – Beneficial Cooperation. It is
the third operation this year conducted in the Exclusive Economical Zone
of Belgium, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. So far SNMCMG1 has
found and disposed of twenty dangerous mines in these waters.
Until 2nd December the ships will check
areas and positions given by combined military staff of the Royal
Netherlands Navy and the Naval Component of the Belgian Armed Forces.
Dangerous objects dating back to the World War II found in these
positions will be destroyed in a safe and controlled way helping to make
the North Sea a safer place for marine traffic and fishermen.
During WW I and II there were more than 1 million mines laid in the
Baltic and North Sea. After more than sixty years , there are still some
that have not exploded. Even though most of the sea lanes and port
approaches have been cleared, every year there are numerous reports
about new mines, bombs and torpedoes found when fishing or diving.
Anyone who finds any suspect object off the Dutch and Belgian coast
should report it (along with the exact position) to the Navy via local
port authorities. This information is then assessed by the Navy and used
to plan future mine hunting operations.
4 Nov 10
Three Months under NATO Flag
Thursday, 4th November, The Polish minehunter ORP „MEWA”
returned to her homeport in Gdynia. Having spent the past three months
with Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group One. Cooperating with
other units on the Baltic, North and Irish Sea she has
in total through 6 700 nautical miles.
The main task for the crew was to conduct complex mine countermeasures
operations - hunting for mines, destroying underwater objects and
leading other ships through endangered areas. ORP ‘Mewa’ participated in
three multinational exercises at sea: „DANEX 2010”, „NORTHEN COASTS
2010” and „JOINT
WARRIOR 10-2” in the Baltic Straits, the Gulf of Bothnia and the Irish
Sea. During this time she visited ports in Denmark, Finland, Germany,
Ireland, Norway and United Kingdom (Scotland) showing the NATO flag and
the flag of the Polish Navy. The ship is under the command of Lieutenant
26 Oct 10
ENS Admiral Cowan leaves SNMCMG1
Tuesday, 26th October, Estonian Navy Ship ‘Admiral Cowan’ finished her
deployment in Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group One. After more
than three months spent as a part of the Group the ship under command of
Lt Cdr Janek Naur is heading towards her homeport in Tallin. Having gone
through more than 5 800 nautical miles, the Estonian minehunter
participated in three major exercises (Danex 2010, Northern Coasts and
Joint Warrior) and identified 57 under water contacts. The crew
conducted 45 runs of remotely operated vehicle (ROV) and spent almost
360 hours analyzing the data received from sonars and ROVs. The
Commander of SNMCMG1 – Cdr Krzysztof Jan Rybak met with the crew in Cork
prior to their departure and said it was a pleasure working together. He
was grateful for their commitment and contribution to the Force, and
wished them a safe journey home with fair winds and following seas.
18 Oct 10
NATO Commander visits mine hunters
Saturday 16 and Sunday 17 October, Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures
Group One (SNMCMG 1) was visited by Commander of Allied Maritime Command
in Northwood –Admiral Sir Trevor Soar KCB OBE. The visit was held in
Campbeltown, Scotland, where the ships of SNMCMG1 are currently
preparing for another operation. On Saturday evening the Commander met
with Ship’s commanding officers onboard the Flagship – ORP “Admiral
Czernicki”, to talk about the time spent under the NATO flag. That was a
great opportunity to share experiences and plans for the future with
Admiral Soar. Before noon on Sunday, the Admiral visited other ships of
the Group and met with the Staff. After a short presentation about the
operations and exercises that the Group completed throughout the year,
the Commander expressed his gratitude for what SNMCMG1 has achieved
during last few months and assured the Group that they are doing a very
important job, not only for NATO, but for all seafarers.
13 Oct 10
SNMCMG1 visited by Commander of United Kingdom Task Group
Sunday, October 10, the Flagship of Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures
Group One – ORP "Admiral Czernicki" was visited by Commander of UK Task
Group – Commodore James Morse. He arrived onboard to get accustomed with
the main mission and capabilities of SNMCMG1 and to witness the command
structure and battle rhythm during Joint Warrior Exercise.
The Commodore arrived by helicopter and
was welcomed by Commander of SNMCMG1 – Cdr Krzysztof Jan Rybak. After
short conversation in Flag Captain’s quarters, the Commodore was
introduced to the ship’s bridge. He had a short conversation with the
officer of the watch, and the Captain about ‘pros and cons’ of this
vessel acting as flagship for the NATO Forces.
03 Oct 10
commence Exercise Joint Warrior 102
Sunday, 3rd of October, ships of SNMCMG1 went underway to start sea
phase of Joint Warrior 102. After the weekend filled by pre-sail
conference, and preparations for going underway, all SNMCMG1 ships
left Glasgow (Scotland) and started their transit to area of operations
off coast of Scotland. This is the last opportunity for SNMCMG1 this
year to cooperate in scenario-based exercise.