May 12 2020 – NATO’s Standing NATO Maritime Group One (SNMG1) continued its Baltic Sea deployment and visited Helsinki, Finland between 8 and 11 May 2020. Following the port visit they conducted exercises with Finnish naval units in order to showcase the interoperability and cooperation between as partners.
Due to the challenges caused by COVID-19 and measures taken by both the NATO forces and Finnish authorities, the crews on board the ships did not go ashore during the visit.
On Monday 11th May the group conducted a Passing Exercise (PASSEX) together with the Finnish Navy units including the minelayer Hämeenmaa and fast attack craft Pori. In addition three aircrafts from the Finnish Air Force also participated in the exercise.
“Due to the Corona-situation we will unfortunately not be able to do a regular port visit to Helsinki,” said Commodore Yngve Skoglund, Commandant of SNMG1. “This time our visit will only be for logistical purposes. It is still important for us to pay Finland a visit, and I am quite happy that we are able to do a joint exercise together with the Finnish Navy. NATO and Finland share the same interests in maintaining the conditions for international order, safe sea lines of communication and freedom of navigation in the Baltic Sea. In order to do so we must be able to operate together whenever necessary. These trainings and exercises are highly valuable for both NATO and Finland”
The group consisting of KNM Otto Sverdrup and FGS Rhon has been operating in the Baltic Sea for the past weeks and ships had also benefitted the port visit in order to resupply.