Turkish minehunter finds unexploded ordnance during Spanish MINEX

Photo: NATO MARCOM

Turkish Navy minehunter TCG Anamur has discovered historical unexploded ordnance during mine countermeasures drills conducted as part of the Spanish-hosted multinational exercise MINEX 2018.

According NATO Maritime Command, the ordnance was discovered by TCG Anamur on 8 May using the ship’s specialized sonar to scan the sea bed and the water below for potential exercise mines.

Instead of dummy mines, the sonar operators detected an object which was thought to be actual live historical ordnance.

TCG Anamur is part of Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group 2 (SNMCMG2) which is taking part in the exercise in Palma and Mahon from 28 April to 11 May 2018.

TCG Anamur used her divers to identify the sonar contact and confirmed that the object was in fact historical ordnance from a previous conflict, lying on the seafloor in 38m of water. Following a quick response by Spanish mine hunter ESPS Timbre, Spanish divers destroyed the ordnance on the morning of 9 May.

This find is the second unexpected historical ordnance find for SNMCMG2 this year. Earlier this year, TCG Akcay (another Turkish minehunter) found a historical mine in the Black Sea while conducting an exercise with the Romanian Navy.

The commander of SNMCMG2, Royal Navy Commander Justin Hains, noted that it’s just part of the skillset that the NATO Mine Countermeasures Groups bring to the fight. “We work hard to ensure the sea remains safe for all of its users. Identification and disposal of historic ordnance is just part of the mission,” said Hains.

The NATO group is working alongside units from a EUROMARFOR Mine Countermeasures Group and Spanish Minehunters during Spanish Minex 2018. SNMCMG2 is currently conducting exercises and interoperability training in the Mediterranean Sea and the Black Sea under the command of British Royal Navy Commander Justin Hains.

The task group arrived in Palma on May 9 for the end of Spanish MINEX 18. The Task Group consists of the flagship HMS Enterprise (a Royal Navy survey vessel), TCG Anamur, ITS Alghero (an Italian minehunter) and ESPS Segura (a Spanish minehunter).

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