The Netherlands Navy took over command of Standing NATO Mine Counter-Measures Group ONE (SNMCMG1) yesterday morning in Den Helder, the Netherlands.
The Lithuanian Navy Commander Giedrius Premeneckas handed over command of SNMCMG1 to Dutch Navy Commander Peter A.J. Bergen Henegouwen during a brief ceremony conducted by NATO Allied Maritime Command’s Deputy Chief of Staff Operations, Commodore Arian Minderhoud.
SNMCMG1 has been commanded from the flagship LNS JOTVINGIS since August 2014. Upon completion of the change of command ceremony, the new flagship of SNMCMG1 will be FGS DONAU, an ELBE-class German tender. The mine hunters assigned include BNS LOBELIA (Belgium), HMS PEMBROKE (UK), and FGS AUERBACH (Germany). HNLMS WILLEMSTAD (Netherlands) was also present for the ceremony and will join the Group next month. In the coming months, these ships will be joined by Polish and Norwegian mine hunters.
Commander Premeneckas took command of the Group on August 7 during a port visit to Klaipeda, Lithuania. This deployment marked the first time that one of the Baltic States commanded one of NATO’s four Standing Naval Forces.
During his time in command, the Group participated in a number of large-scale multinational exercises, including the Finnish Navy-led NORTHERN COASTS 2014 and the Royal Navy-led joint forces exercise JOINT WARRIOR 2014. The Group’s ships also put their specialized skills and equipment to use conducting historic ordnance disposal operations off the French coast, clearing mines dating back to World War I and II in an effort to make the waters safer for all who use them.
Now under Dutch command, the Group will continue to play an integral role in the Alliance Maritime Strategy in 2015 as it deploys in support of sustained assurance measures, taking on similar challenges to those faced by its predecessors.
Press release, Image: MARCOM