“UN Security Council resolution is providing the background for international maritime, air and land forces to avert local conflict on the Baltic. The aim of the multinational armada of ships is to ensure the safety of navigation through the disputed area and to deter the violence from spreading to the neighboring countries.”
That is the starting point of the Northern Coasts 2013 exercise that has just begun off the coast of Sweden. The Polish Navy is represented by two ships: minehunter ORP Czajka and SNMCMG1 flagship ORP Czernicki.
On Monday, September 9, more than 40 ships, 10 helicopters and a total of 2500 participants from 15 different nations left Karlskrona harbor to start the exercise. During the weekend the crews participated in the pre-sail conferences to finalize the plan for upcoming ten days at sea. The exercise will last until September 19.
One of the first assignments for the Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group One and the Polish minehunter is to ensure the safety of navigation for other units from the coalition so that they could enter the disputed zone unharmed. After the sea lanes of communication have been cleared from any possible underwater explosives, the humanitarian assistance will be delivered to the region to aid those who are affected by the conflict. Along with the minehunting operations, the ships will have to defend against air strikes, assaults from other ships and asymmetrical threat.
Northern Coasts 2013 is based on a fictitious scenario, however it assumes the potentially dangerous real-life situations that may occur while being at sea. According to its objectives, an international peacekeeping force is created by the UN resolution to avert local conflict on the northern Baltic Sea. Actions taken within scenario will include procedures for crisis response, protection of maritime transport, the fight against terrorism and sea piracy, the embargo enforcing operations, humanitarian assistance and carrying out rescue operations – virtually all the military aspects of peacekeeping operations at sea. The exercise in its final phase will involve combined naval, air and land operations. It has been conducted on annual basis since 2007.
Press Release, September 10, 2013; Image: Polish Navy