This morning the nine NATO ships assigned to Standing NATO Mine Counter-Measures Group ONE (SNMCMG1) arrived in Ventspils for a scheduled port visit during the Group’s deployment to the Baltic to enhance maritime security and NATO’s readiness in the region.
Ventspils is the third Baltic port of call for the Group, which departed Kiel, Germany on April 22nd, and previously paid visits to Świnoujście, Poland, and Klaipeda, Lithuania.
Led by Commander Eirik Otterbu (NOR N), SNMCMG1 is currently composed of the Norwegian support vessel HNoMS VALKYRIEN (flagship), which will lead the Dutch mine hunter HNLMS MAKKUM, the Belgian mine hunter BNS BELLIS, the Norwegian mine hunter HNoMS OTRA, and the Estonian mine hunter ENS ADMIRAL COWAN, as well as the newly added French mine hunters FS CASSIOPEE and FS L’AIGLE, Latvian mine hunter LVNS VIESTURS and Lithuanian mine hunter LNS SKALVIS.
“The increase in SNMCMG1’s force contribution to nine ships from seven NATO nations reflects the Alliance’s resolve to provide a strong, capable presence in the Baltic Sea in support of NATO assurance measures,” said Vice Admiral Christian Canova, NATO Allied Maritime Command Deputy Commander.
During the port visit, SNMCMG1 will meet with Latvian Navy and other participants for the pre-sail conference of OPEN SPIRIT 2014, a Latvian Navy-led Historic Ordnance Disposal operation.
Press Release, May 9, 2014; Image: NATO