Estonian minehunter Sakala taking part in MCM operation in Irbe Strait

The Estonian minehunter EML Sakala (M314).
The Estonian minehunter EML Sakala (M314). Source: (

Minehunter Sakala and Estonian mine countermeasures (MCM) divers are taking part in a two-week MCM training exercise, Open Spirit, in Irbe Strait starting from Monday to detect and render harmless naval mines and other explosive devices left in the sea from the past wars.

"The two last wars have left large numbers of historic explosive devices in the Baltic Sea. The annual international Open Spirit exercise and the participation of the Estonian minehunter Sakala  in it are making a significant contribution to ensuring safer seafaring," said Cmdr. Mati Terve, standing in for the commander of the fleet of the Estonian Navy. 

Terve said that during the exercise, NATO allies and partners will improve their skills in the search for historic explosive devices, rendering them harmless, and interoperability between units. 

"The exercise's taking place sends a signal that despite the ongoing emergency situation, solidarity between allies, preparedness and commitment to collective defense have not been undermined," Terve said.

The other vessels taking part in the exercise are Virsaitis, a headquarters and support vessel of the Latvian Navy; minehunters Talivaldis and Rusins; Otra, a minehunter of the Norwegian Navy; Willemstad, a minehunter of the Dutch Navy; as well as German minehunters Datteln, Weilheim and Gromitz.

The multinational naval mine clearance and ordnance disposal mission is hosted on a yearly rotational basis by one of three Baltic nations – Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. The nation is charge of this year's exercise is Latvia. 


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Editor: Anders Nõmm

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