TALLINN - Estonian minehunter Sakala taking part in the exercise Open Spirit held in Latvian waters this year has found five pieces of naval ordnance during the exercise to date.
The Sakala and Estonian mine countermeasures (MCM) divers are taking part in the two-week MCM training exercise Open Spirit in Irbe Strait, whose objective is to detect and render harmless naval mines and other explosive devices left in the sea from the past wars.
The Estonian Navy informed on their Facebook page that Sakala has covered an area of six square kilometers in Irbe Strait and has found one sea bottom mine and one naval mine line with four German contact mines from the period of World War I attached.
This puts the Estonian minehunter in second place among the vessels taking part in the exercise for the number of finds made. The top place is occupied by the Norwegian vessel Otra belonging to NATO's Standing Mine Countermeasures Group 1.
In addition, Sakala identified mine chairs located on the same line with the contact mine.
Also the four mines located by Sakala were still in their chairs, which means that they had not been activated after their launch and had just floated up from the sea bottom.
The other vessels taking part in the exercise are Virsaitis, a headquarters and support vessel of the Latvian Navy; minehunters Talivaldis and Rusins; Otra, a minehunter of the Norwegian Navy; Willemstad, a minehunter of the Dutch Navy; as well as German minehunters Datteln, Weilheim and Gromitz.
The multinational naval mine clearance and ordnance disposal mission is hosted on a yearly rotational basis by one of three Baltic nations – Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. The nation is charge of this year's exercise is Latvia.