April 8, 2020 (Google Translation) – From March 23 to April 05, 2020, the Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group 1 (SNMCMG 1), one of the two NATO mine warfare forces, conducted an operation to process historic munitions along the Normandy coast.
Called ” Historical Ordnance Disposal 20″, this operation took place in the Channel and more particularly in the Bay of Seine and Bay of Somme. 20.3 square nautical miles (approximately 70 km²) were covered by the 6 military buildings of 6 participating nations: the tripartite mine hunter (CMT) Andromède (France), the KNM Otra (Norway), the HNLMS Willemstad (Netherlands) ), BNS Bellis (Belgium), HMS Grimsby (Great Britain) and FGS Donau(Germany) – flagship of this edition. In total, divers and deminers with the help of remote-controlled underwater robots treated 7 German mines of the LMB type and 1 submarine grenade for a TNT equivalent of 6,800 kg.
Since 1996, these combined operations called ” Historical Ordnance Disposal ” (HOD) have been carried out each year in the English Channel – North Sea in order to eliminate munitions of a historical nature. The seabed of this maritime space is indeed characterized by the significant presence of explosive devices from the last two world wars (bombs, concreted shells, bottom mines). Finding and neutralizing these dangers is therefore a maritime safety issue, and the “HOD” operation directly contributes to securing the seabed of the English Channel – North Sea.
The French Navy acts daily to secure the French coast and the seabed. All of its mine action resources (dedicated vessels such as tripartite mine hunters and groups of demining divers) regularly conduct operations aimed at detecting, neutralizing or destroying unexploded ordnance at sea or on French beaches.
In the English Channel and the North Sea in 2019, the joint action of the group of mine-clearing divers from the English Channel and mine hunters of the French Navy made it possible to destroy 1,786 historic devices (at sea and on the foreshore), which represented 19 tonnes of TNT equivalent.