From 9 to 13 October 2023, the tripartite minehunter (TMC) L’Aigle took part in the Historical Ordnance Disposal (HOD) mission, an inter-allied operation to process historic ordnance. The operation, led by Standing NATO Mine Contermeasures Group1 (SNMCMG1), took place in the English Channel.
For this mine warfare mission, SNMCMG 1 invited seven ships from five Alliance nations. For this, the group was composed of the fighters of the Belgian BNS Crocus, the Canadian HMCS Summerside and Shawinigan, the Dutch HNLMS Vlaardingen and Zierikzee, the Polish ORP Czernicki who commanded the group, and the CMT L’Aigle.
25 square nautical miles (about 85km2) of the Bay of Seine were covered by the participating nations. In their mission, the clearance divers were supported by underwater remote-controlled robots from ORP Czernicki and HNLMS Zierikzee. In total, Operation HOD made it possible to treat and neutralize 2 German mines and for a TNT equivalent of 1,300 kg.
Since 1996, combined operations called HODs have been conducted annually in the English Channel and North Sea in order to eliminate munitions of a historical nature. The seabed of this maritime space is indeed characterized by the significant presence of explosive devices from the last two world wars (bombs, concretion shells, bottom mines). It is therefore a maritime safety issue that is represented by the search for and neutralization of these dangers. HOD operations are directly involved in the major clean-up of the seabed of the English Channel – North Sea.