May 22, 2020 (Google Translation) – Nearly 30 explosives, including Russian and English naval mines. HNLMS Willemstad in the past 4 months, mainly in the North Sea. The mine hunter was part of the so-called Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group 1 (SNMCMG1). The naval ship returned today in Den Helder.
The explosives were found, among other things, with the latest underwater robot, the REMUS 100 Next Generation. Gaining experience with this is important according to the commander, 1st class Lieutenant Sander Kool. “The independently deployable underwater robots play a crucial role in the new mine hunters, expected from 2024 onwards.”
NATO has a group of minehunters permanently available with the SNMCMG1. The units conduct mine-hunting operations and clear explosives, mainly from World War II. These projectiles still pose a threat to shipping and fishing. The Royal Netherlands Navy continuously supplies mine hunters to NATO for rapidly deployable fleet connections such as the SNMCMG1.
That was now the Willemstad. The ship set sail on February 2, when the world was not yet affected by the COVID-19 virus and the crew was not at risk of infections on board. Precautions were taken when the situation changed during the trip. A number of port visits were canceled to minimize the risk of corona. Also, some exercises were canceled. Kool is proud of this crew. Despite the uncertain period, it did not hang its head, but continued. The support of the home front and the organization was crucial in this. ”
Facing the setback, Zr.Ms. Willemstad found the explosives a good result. As a result, the crew can still look back on the deployment period with satisfaction.