On August 29, Standing NATO Mine Counter-Measures Group ONE (SNMCMG1), under the leadership of Lithuanian Navy Commander Giedrius Premeneckas, arrived in Turku, Finland, for a routine port visit in advance of the Finnish Navy-led Exercise NORTHERN COASTS.
SNMCMG1 is visiting Turku during the Group’s deployment to the Baltic to enhance maritime security and NATO’s readiness in the region. This deployment marks the first time that the Lithuanian Navy has taken command of one of NATO’s Standing Naval Forces.
SNMCMG1’s flagship, the Lithuanian Minelayer LNS JOTVINGIS, is leading the Group’s minehunters: the Polish Navy’s ORP FLAMING, the German Navy’s FGS DATTELN, the Norwegian Navy’s HNoMS KARMOEY, the Latvian Navy’s LVNS TALIVALDIS, the Estonian Navy’s ENS SAKALA, the Dutch Navy’s HNLMS ZIERIKZEE and the Belgian Navy’s BNS CROCUS.
The main aim of the NORTHERN COASTS exercise is to improve the multinational interoperability between the participating forces. The exercise host rotates among different Baltic countries each year, and 2014 marks the second time Finland is hosting, this time under the command of the Chief of Staff of the Finnish Navy, Commodore Juha Vauhkonen.
Commander Premeneckas took command of the Group August 7 during a port visit to Klaipeda, Lithuania. Since then, the Group has been conducting operations in the Baltic, providing enhanced maritime security and maritime situational awareness.