In this year's Open Spirit exercise, the Estonian Navy is planning to include nearly 800 participants. Open Spirit is the Baltic navies' biggest annual mine countermeasures exercise. This year it will be held in Estonia from May 11 to 25.
The partners in the exercise, which beyond the Baltic states also include allies in NATO as well as other partner countries, are meeting in Tallinn on Tuesday to agree on the details of the exercise, the Estonian Defence Forces (EDF) said in a press release.
"Open Spirit will cover different marine areas across Estonia this year from the Sõrve peninsula to Tallinn," Cmdr. Peeter Ivask, commander of the Estonian Navy, was quoted in the press release.
Some 20 ships and 800 crewmen will take part in 2018. There are two main areas where the exercise will take place, one the marine territory around Tallinn, the other on the sea surrounding the islands of Saaremaa and Hiiumaa.
The Baltic Sea still contains a large amount of explosives and chemicals left over from two world wars. Reducing the threat of the remaining explosives, such as mines and bombs, is the aim of the exercise. Beyond that, its other purpose is to train alongside allies and partners, and to foster good will in the region.
Editor: Dario Cavegn