Baltische zee, 05 juni 2023 Op de Baltische zee vindt BaltOps plaats waarbij vele NATO landen aan meedoen om mijnen te ruimen en verschillende scenario's te draaien. Foto: Scenario's aan boord van de Zr. Ms. Vlaardingen

The NATO fleet association SNMCMG1 is stepping up patrols in the Baltic Sea. This is because 2 submarine cables between Estonia and Sweden have been damaged. Together with HNLMS Vlaardingen, the Netherlands is part of the minehunters’ squadron.

In order to uncover suspicious activities in time, the alliance also keeps a close eye on the situation in the Baltic Sea from the air. Maritime reconnaissance aircraft, AWACS radar equipment and drones have been used for this purpose.

Since the sabotage of the Nord Stream pipelines in September 2022, NATO has already reinforced patrols near critical infrastructure. Earlier this year, the alliance also deployed a coordination cell to keep undersea infrastructure safe.

Vlaardingen has a 35-man crew and has been sailing for the SNMCMG1 (Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group 1) since August. The Belgian BNS Crocus has also been deployed for the NATO response force. The fleet focuses, among other things, on clearing explosives in the Baltic Sea.

SNMCMG1 is part of the NATO Response Force, NATO’s rapid response force. The Navy continuously supplies mine hunters to NATO for rapidly deployable fleets. This means that the alliance can call on them directly for military operations.