Navy begins mine clearance operation in Tallinn Bay (1)
The Estonian navy started a two and half week mine clearance operation in Tallinn Bay on Thursday.
“The purpose of the operation is to neutralize any potential threat found in areas where former military activities took place and increase the safety for maritime traffic in the Gulf of Tallinn,” said Lieutenant Toomas Auväärt, the Navy Fleet Commander.
The operation has been organized by the Estonian Navy, Environmental Inspectorate and Harju County Government. The aim of the mission is to find and disarm explosive devices.
During the World War I and II, tens of thousands of naval mines were deployed in the Baltic Sea and are still being found.
In May this year, international mine hunting exercise Open Spirit, which aims to clean the Baltic sea of old explosive devices and rotates annually between the three Baltic nations, took place in Estonia. During the two week operation, a total of 210 devices were found, mostly around the islands of Naissaar and Aegna.
There are four commissioned ships in the Estonian Navy, all of them mineships. There are three British-built Sandown-class minehunters and one Danish-built Lindormen-class minelayer.
The total displacement of the Estonian navy is under 10,000 tonnes, making it one of the smallest navies in the world.