West India Dock was a hive of activity as a number of ships from a number of countries arrived. As part of a larger fleet, many of the ships had been on a NATO exercise called Joint Warrior in October. It was Europe’s largest military exercise which started off the coast of Scotland and involved 22 ships and submarines, as well as the vast number of warships there was 52 fixed wing aircraft from the Fleet Air Arm and RAF and 3500 personnel taking part.
In the exercises, Lithuanian Minelayer LNS Jotvingis led the other fleet minehunters, Belgian Navy’s BNS Crocus, the German Navy’s FGS Datteln, the Polish Navy’s ORP Flaming, the Estonian Navy’s ENS Sakala, the Latvian Navy’s LVNS Talialdis and the Dutch Navy’s HNLMS Zierlkzee.
It was all these ships who have arrived at West India Dock today.
M1068 Datteln built at Lürssen launched 1994.
Datteln is a Type 332 Frankenthal class mine hunter which is a class of German mine hunters. The ships are built of non-magnetic steel. Hull, machinery and superstructure of this class is similar to the original Type 343 Hameln class minesweeper.
HNLMS Zierikzee (M862) is one of six Dutch Alkmaarclass minehunters, based on the Tripartite design – built as a partnership program between France, Belgium and The Netherlands. The ship has a Glass-Fibre Reinforced Polyester Hull.
BNS Crocus (M917) is a Tripartite class minehunter of the Belgian Naval Component, launched on September 3, 1986 at the Mercantile-Belyard shipyard in Rupelmonde It was the third of the Belgian Tripartite class minehunters
Polish Navy’s ORP Flaming, a Projekt 206FM-class minehunter,
The Project 206FM class originally designated Project 206F, were mine-countermeasure vessels of the Polish Navy built during the mid-1960s at the Komuny Paryskiej Shipyard in Gdynia.
EML Sakala (M314) is a Sandown-class minehunter of the Estonian Navy and belongs to the Estonian Navy Mineships Division.
The EML Sakala was built in the United Kingdom, in a Vosper Thornycroft shipyard. The vessel was launched on 27 February 1990 and she entered service a year later on 24 January 1991. She was known as the HMS Inverness but was sold to the Estonian Navy.
As it was unknown that all the ships were arriving today, it is not known how long they will be here.