October 31, 2018 – Standing NATO Mine Counter Measures Group One (SNMCMG1) under the command of Commander Peter RAMBOER of the Belgian Navy located and destroyed two mines from World War II while conducting training as a part of Trident Juncture 2018.
While the group was practicing clearing sea routes for an amphibious assault the Norwegian minehunter KNM Maaloey detected two historical mines. After inspection with a remote under water vehicle they were identified as British airdropped mines from World War II.
Norwegian authorities granted permission to destroy the historical ordnance in the interest of public safety. With this permission, the crew of KNM Maaloey started the process to detonate them. Both mines were located in an area close to pipelines and had to be moved to a safe place first. The Latvian minehunter LVNS Rusins, supported Maaloey, each ship moving one mine to a location cleared for detonation. A few hours later, two large plumes of water were the proof of a powerful underwater detonation.
This intervention showed once more that SNMCMG1 is ready to make or keep the sea safe and free of mines. This year alone, the NATO group countermined or moved more than one hundred explosives from previous conflicts.
Currently SNMCMG1 consists of 6 ships: BNS Godetia (command and supply ship from Belgium), KNM Maaloey (mine hunter from Norway), LVNS Rusins (mine hunter from Latvia), LNS Kursis (mine hunter from Lithuania), HNLMS Makkum (minehunter from The Netherlands) and FGS Homburg (mine hunter from Germany).
With around 50,000 participants from 31 nations this is the biggest NATO exercise since the cold war in the region. The core job of SNMCMG1 in this exercise is to keep the shipping lanes open, so that the bigger units can operate freely without the danger of running into a mine. Two times SNMCMG1 was asked to practice opening a route to a beach, so that amphibious forces could make a landing there.