NATO ships clear more than 50 mines from Baltic Sea

November 14 saw the conclusion of the Joint Hod ops (Historical Ordnance Disposal Operation) exercise organized by NATO’s 1st Standing Anti-Mine Squad and the Baltic Minesweeper Squadron (BALTRON) which began November 4.

The main task of the training was to find and neutralize explosive items left over from World War I and World War II of the Latvian coast near Irbe in order to improve maritime safety in the Baltic Sea, as well as improve skills in mine clearance operations.

During the Hod ops exercise, approximately 20 square nautical miles were cleared, finding 56 explosive items at the bottom of the sea, including various different types of mines. Currently, 43 mines have been destroyed, and the Navy will continue its work on neutralizing the remaining 13 mines. A total of 322 items were identified.

M-06 Naval Mine Ship “Talivaldis” found eight mines in training, seven of which were WWII German-made weighing an impressive 960 kilograms each. The largest number of explosive hazardous items – 12 mines – was found in the Irbe Strait by the German naval minesweeper Weilheim.

Danish, Norwegian, British, Dutch and Lithuanian ships also participated.

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