HMS Quorn Clears Historic Minefields off Estonia

Portsmouth based Minehunter HMS Quorn has spent the past two weeks taking part in a NATO operation to clear historic minefields off the coast of Estonia.

Called “Open Spirit”, the operation is an annual event carried out by NATO with ships from member states locating, and neutralising, some of the 85,000 mines laid in the Baltic Sea during the First and Second World Wars.

Quorn, alongside Minehunters and Mine Clearance Diving Teams from nine nations, has been methodically scouring the coastal waters of Estonia which were heavily mined by Russian and German forces during both World Wars looking for historic ordinance which now poses a danger to merchant shipping, fishermen and the local ecology.

In total the NATO Group of 11 ships and three drones identified almost 200 mines during the 10 day period, successfully destroying 38, three of which were claimed by Quorn, the remainder posing no danger to shipping.

Quorn is deployed for three months with NATO Standing Mine Countermeasures Group One (SNMCMG1) in the Baltic Sea.

Throughout the three month deployment the ship will operate closely with NATO allies throughout the region.

Quorn is now on her way to the Southern Baltic Sea to take part in BALTOPS 2015, an international exercise held in the Baltic Sea by the Commander United States Naval Forces Europe.

Image: Royal Navy

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