June 22, 2020 (Google Translation) – On Thursday, June 25, 2020 at 10 a.m., the “Danube” tender will return from the permanent NATO Mine Defense Association SNMCMG1 (Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group 1) under the command of corvette captain Bernd Abshagen (39).
After almost half a year, the approximately 70 crew members can finally see their relatives again, but that is not the only peculiarity, explains the commander of the “Danube”. “We will enter the home port of Warnemünde for the last time. The ´Donau´ was stationed there for more than 26 years. For the crew, who are mostly very deeply rooted in Rostock, this will certainly be a very special and very emotional moment relocate the shipyard and then, based on a deployment decision, call at the new home port in Kiel, “said Corvette Captain Abshagen.
But first of all, the marines are happy to have returned safely to Warnemünde after 167 days in action. “I am incredibly proud of how professionally my crew has mastered this seafaring despite the additional burdens caused by the corona pandemic. In addition to the permanent tasks as the flagship and logistic platform of the SNMCMG1, the men and women had to watch from sea The usual life of those who stayed at home changed and escalated at a frantic pace. In addition, the crew had to do without going ashore for 102 days. For this outstanding performance and the understanding shown, both my crew and their families deserve my deep respect and my highest appreciation, “said the naval officer continues.
During its operation, the “Danube” served as a management platform for up to twelve anti-mine units. The command of the NATO ships was carried out by a Norwegian command staff who were on board the “Danube” during the mission.
The primary task during this mission-like commitment was to help ensure the operational readiness of the entire international mine defense association. For this purpose, exercises were regularly carried out within the association as well as taking part in major international maneuvers such as “OPEN SPIRIT 2020” and “BALTOPS 2020”.
In addition, the disposal of contaminated sites in the North and Baltic Seas was one of the main tasks of the NATO Anti-Mine Defense Association, since numerous remains of ammunition from the world wars still pose a threat to maritime shipping and the marine environment.
NATO maintains four permanent maritime operations units, which are manned by ships and boats from the member states and, together with air and land forces and special forces, form the NATO Response Force, which was set up in 2002. The units in these associations have completed a training program lasting several months and are at a high level of equipment and training. They can be relocated quickly according to NATO and national decisions and are available for crisis management operations as well as for collective defense measures. They are under the supreme command of the NATO commander in Europe (Supreme Allied Commander Europe, SACEUR). The NATO Response Force was spearheaded by a decision by the member states in 2014 to
The formation of a NATO Response Force also serves for joint training and qualification, which is why the associations regularly take part in maneuvers under NATO leadership or at the invitation of individual member states. The SNMCMG 1 operates all year round mainly in the North and Baltic Seas and adjacent sea areas. The association has the mandate to ensure operational readiness at sea and to train all aspects of mine control. They demonstrate the determination and cohesion of the alliance and deepen cooperation with partner countries through port visits and exchange programs.