July 24, 2019 (Google Translation) – On Monday, July 29, 2019 at 10 clock, the mine hunting boat “Weilheim” will leave the home port Kiel. Over the next four and a half months, the 3rd Mine Search Squadron boat will be under the responsibility of the NATO Mine Defense Association SNMCMG 1 (Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group 1), which is led by a Danish staff officer.
Under the command of Lieutenant Commander Sebastian Sauer (33), the 43-strong crew makes after a two-week sea phase initially on the way to the Einsatzausbildungszentrum Damage Defense of the Navy in Neustadt iH There, the “Weilheim” train together with the NATO Association, the damage control on board , “The most important task will be to quickly join the international association to prove the ability of this Alliance’s Permanent Mine Defense Unit to act as part of the NATO Response Force (NRF),” emphasizes the Weilheim Commander. Only a short time later, the association will take part in the great Baltic Sea maneuver “Northern Coasts”, which takes place every year in autumn and is led by the German Navy this year.
Maneuvering and training are only a task of the NATO boats. They secure the sea routes by presence and mine defense. Thus, the “Weilheim” also participate in Historic Ordnance Disposal Operations, in English: contaminated sites in the North Sea and Baltic Sea. “In doing so, we are removing naval mines, torpedoes and bombs from the World Wars or the Cold War, which still pose a threat to maritime shipping today,” explains the commander.
I am proud to have the privilege of being able to lead them to NATO’s Permanent Mine Defense Association, but while international cooperation is normal for the navy, it is always a special treat, and always will more weight, “continues Corvette Captain Sauer. “At the beginning of December we will start the return journey in the direction of Kiel.” Boat and crew are expected in mid-December just in time for the Christmas in Kiel.