Annual mine countermeasure exercise Open Spirit commenced in Estonian territorial waters this week. The exercise brings together mine countermeasure units from Europe and North America to conduct real-world operations to detect and neutralize deep sea mines from the two world wars.
The participating nations include Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Lithuania, Latvia, Norway, Poland, Sweden, the UK and the US. A total of 800 marines on 15 ships and seven diving units take part in the operations.
Dutch navy ship HNLMS Willemstad found the first historical ordnance, a Russian-type M-08 contact mine, on Monday night off the northwestern coast of Estonia. By Tuesday noon, 10 ships and two unmanned platoons had located five mines in the area, and neutralized three of them.
The exercise takes place in the Tallinn Bay, Irbe Strait between the Sõrve Peninsula and the Courland Peninsula in Latvia, and around Saaremaa and Muhumaa islands.
The exercise will end on May 29.
Editor: M. Oll