September 22, 2020 (Google Translation) – On Friday, September 25th, 2020 at 10 am, the mine-hunting boat “Grömitz” will enter Kiel’s naval port in the Wik. The boat belonged to the Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group 1 (Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group 1) for almost two months. The North and Baltic Seas are the operational areas of this maritime association, which are part of the NATO Response Force’s intervention forces. The SNMCMG 1 is in constant readiness for action with anti-mine boats, mine layers and command ships.
It was a special time for Commander Korvettenkapitän Philipp Palm (37) and his 40-strong crew: “You don’t normally start a sea voyage with a quarantine.” Two weeks before departure, the crew had moved into a building at the Kiel naval base in order to isolate themselves from the outside world and thus exclude a COVID-19 infection. They then went on board as a cohort and joined the NATO alliance.
The shore leave in foreign ports such as Amsterdam (Netherlands) or Zeebrugge (Belgium) had to be canceled in the coming weeks. No problem for the commander and his crew. “We had a lively international exchange between the crews who visited each other in the ports on board. Without a mask – because we are demonstrably without risk of infection as long as we stay among ourselves,” said Palm. The boats took part in an exercise off the Belgian coast and crossed the Arctic Circle on their way to Tromsö (Norway). That is why the mine-hunting boat will also arrive in Kiel with the bow tip painted dark blue – the externally recognizable sign for use north of 66 degrees 33.92 minutes north latitude. “We were able to train mine hunting in strong flowing waters in the North Sea.
On September 28, 2020 the mine hunting boat “Sulzbach-Rosenberg” will succeed the SNMCMG 1. After a two-week quarantine, the boat and crew join the international partners at sea. The crew has been on their own since last Monday in order to be proven infection-free after two weeks and thus clear for the NATO mission. Like the “Grömitz” they will fly under the flag of the Alliance and will be subordinate to the naval headquarters of Allied Maritime Command in Northwood (Great Britain) during their deployment. The “Sulzbach-Rosenberg” is expected back in the home port shortly before Christmas.