TALLINN – A ceremony marking the merger of the fleets of the Estonian Navy and the Police and Border Guard Board will take place at the Naval Base in Tallinn on Tuesday, Jan. 3.
Defense Minister Hanno Pevkur and Interior Minister Lauri Laanemets will take part in the ceremony, and ships of the Navy and four ships from the border guard fleet will be berthed at the quay, spokespeople for the Ministry of Defense told BNS.
The ceremony will begin at 12:45 p.m.
The merger means that in addition to the four large vessels of the Navy -- the minehunters Admiral Cowan, Sakala and Ugandi, and the command and support vessel Wambola -- four large vessels of the Police and Border Guard Board -- Kindral Kurvits, Pikker, Valve and Raju -- will become part of the Navy, and the Maritime Surveillance Center and the Maritime Operations Center will move to a single location.
The Navy will receive the additional responsibilities of guarding the maritime border and pollution control, while the Police and Border Guard Board will be responsible for rescue at sea.
The merger of the fleets follows from the coalition agreement and the government's action program developed under it. The documents foresee the need to improve Estonia's maritime defense capabilities and maritime border surveillance by enhancing the unified control and information exchange of surveillance systems in the areas of administration of different ministries. The joint fleet will also help with civilian tasks, including maritime pollution response.