October 29, 2020 – Ships of Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group One (SNMCMG1) ware visiting Stockholm, Sweden on 30 October as part of its routine deployment in the Baltic Sea region. The port visit in Stockholm takes place on completion of two weeks of historical ordnance disposal operations (HODOPS) in Estonian waters.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the port visit program was scaled down, and for all SNMCMG1 personnel the visit is mainly designated for rest and logistic supply, before continuing their deployment.
Sweden is a NATO Partner nation and NATO ships regularly call on ports in Sweden as part of their routine program in the Baltic Sea.
“Sweden is one of NATO’s closest and most active partners as well as a close neighbour in the Baltic Sea. We share the same interest for security in the region and I look forward to further reinforce the close ties between Swedish Armed Forces and NATO through this visit”, says Commander Audrius Venckunas, the Commander of SNMCMG1.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, necessary precaution measures are implemented during the visit. SNMCMG1 personnel are declared as COVID free because they haven’t been in contact with personnel outside the force for more than 14 days.
Led by Commander Audrius Venckunas of the Lithuanian Navy, SNMCMG1 consists of the flagship LNS Jotvingis with international staff on board and 6 mine countermeasures vessels: ENS Admiral Cowan, BNS Crocus, FGS Sulzbach-Rosenberg, LVNS Imanta, HNLMS Schiedam, HNoMS Maaloy.
SNMCMG1 is one of four standing NATO forces that comprise the maritime component of the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF), which is part of the NATO Response Force (NRF). Also, SNMCMG1 is one of two specialist naval mine countermeasures groups. Its mission is to provide the NATO Response Force with a continuously available standing naval element, ready for operations in peacetime, crisis or conflict. SNMCMG1 ensure maritime presence and demonstrate solidarity and cohesion of the Alliance. SNMCMG1 contributes to the maintenance of freedom of navigation and secure maritime transport. SNMCMG1 supports the principle of cooperative security by flying the NATO flag and by serving as professional mariners.