The international mine countermeasure operation Open Spirit 24, which lasted almost two weeks, ended today, during which the navies of Estonia and allied countries found 40 historical explosive devices in Estonian waters.

“Open Spirit 24 has been successfully completed and the set tasks have been completed. In two weeks, we made the Estonian sea areas safer by 11 tons of old explosives, all the participating units got a good experience of the whole cycle of mine hunting, and with all this we demonstrated that NATO is capable of finding mines and other explosive devices in the Baltic Sea and defuse them,” said Lieutenant Captain Ott Laanemets, commander of the Open Spirit 24 target group .

As part of the mine countermeasures operation Open Spirit 24 organized by the Estonian Navy, inspections were carried out on 15-26. during April, a sea area of nearly 300 square kilometers. In the process, 302 mine anchors, 37 sea mines, one torpedo and two other historical explosives were found. Together with the explosives found earlier, 43 explosives were defused during the operation.

In addition to explosives, a 70-meter shipwreck was also found near Hiiumaa. The Navy forwards their locations and sonar images as a group to the Heritage Protection Board and the Transport Board, which will investigate and identify the origin, former purpose and historical value of the wrecks.

Open Spirit is an international demining operation that aims to find and defuse historical explosive devices to make the Baltic Sea safer. This year, the operation took place in the Estonian territorial sea and in the economic zone 15-26. until April. 14 ships, 11 shore-based divers and underwater robot crews, and a total of over 700 allied and partner countries and the Estonian navy participated in the operation. In total, there were participants from 16 countries.

In 1995, cooperation between the Baltic states began on the Baltic Sweep operation, which by 1997 had developed into the mine countermeasures operation Open Spirit. This annual operation takes place on a rotating basis in Estonia, Latvia or Lithuania. Open Spirit was last held in Estonia in 2021, but for the first time in 1998.