The last day of February for the Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group 1 was also the last day of “Beneficial Cooperation”.
During the two-week operation in the English Channel the ships of SNMCMG1 located and disposed of 8 individual pieces of underwater explosive ordnance (UXOs) with a total of more than two tons of TNT inside, Polish Navy informed.
Mine action in the south basin of the North Sea was conducted as part of the Operation codenamed “Beneficial Cooperation” in the Exclusive Economic Maritime Zone pertaining to Belgium, the Netherlands and the UK. It lasted two weeks, from 18 February to March 1.
The operation’s purpose was to search for, detect and destroy dangerous underwater objects that may lie at the bottom of the sea ever since the Second World War, and which could jeopardize safe navigation. The Polish Navy team within SNMCMG1 was headed by ORP “Admiral Xawery Czernicki”ship.
The operation included participation of minehunters: Polish ORP “Chaika”, German FGS “Weilheim”, Belgian BNS “Bellis” and Dutch HNLMS “Schiedam”.
In total, during “Beneficial Cooperation” eight dangerous underwater objects have been neutralized. Seven of them were bombs, and one, a sea mine. All date back from the Second World War. Weight of explosive charge was estimated at more than 2 tons.
Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group 1 (SNMCMG1) is a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) standing mine countermeasures Immediate Reaction Forces. Prior to 1 January 2005 it was known as the NATO Mine Countermeasure Force (North) (MCMFN).
SNMCMG1 is a permanently established naval squadron that normally consists of seven mine countermeasures vessels, including a dedicated command ship. SNMCMG1 is under the operational command of the Allied Command Operations (ACO).
The area of operations for the group includes the waters of Europe from the North of Norway to the Mediterranean and from the Irish Sea to the Eastern Baltic Sea. Since 1998 SNMCMG1 has also been operating in coastal waters of the United States, Canada and Iceland.
Seven NATO navies regularly contribute to the force. Belgium, Germany, Netherlands, Norway, and United Kingdom provide ships continuously. Denmark and Poland provide ships as national priorities permit. New NATO members Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania joined the group in the beginning of 2005.
SNMCMG1 should be ready at any time to respond to different types of threats to maritime security. Its main task is to guard against the threat of sea mines, detect and destroy underwater objects that could endanger shipping.
Naval Today Staff, March 7, 2013; Image: Polish Navy