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Nearly 800 personnel to take part in Open Spirit exercise in Estonia

BC, Tallinn, 23.01.2018.Print version

The Estonian Navy is planning to include nearly 800 participants in this year's Open Spirit, the biggest annual mine countermeasures exercise of the Baltic countries which will take place in Estonia this year, and the details of the exercise will be agreed on with allies and partner countries at a conference that will kick off in Tallinn on Tuesday, cites LETA/BNS.

"This year's Open Spirit will include different marine areas across Estonia, from the Sorve Peninsula to Tallinn," Cmdr. Peeter Ivask, commander of the fleet of the Estonian Navy, said.

Nearly 20 ships and some 800 personnel will be taking part in Open Spirit 2018, which will take place on May 11-25. The main regions of activity will be near Tallinn and the western Estonian islands of Hiiumaa, Saaremaa and Muhu.

The goal of the operation is to reduce the threat of explosive remnants of war throughout the Baltic Sea region, foster goodwill and support important relationships with defense partners in the region. 

Specifically, the operation aims to reduce the risk from maritime explosive remnants for shipping and fisheries, exercise naval mine countermeasure operations in a challenging environment; deploy land-based explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) teams in naval mine countermeasures operations, and enhance interoperability concerning communications, seamanship and diving operations.

Taking part in the operation will be vessels of SNMCMG1, the Baltic mine countermeasures squadron Baltron, and partners from the Baltic Ordinance Safety Board in Sweden who help identify the pieces of ordnance using information and photographs received from the vessels.

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.

In the past 20 years more than 1,200 explosive devices have been found in Estonia's waters and defused.

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