After the excitement of the arrival of the HMS Grimsby (M108) ,BNS Godetia ( A960 ), Latvian Navy ship Tālivaldis (M-60), the Estonian Navy ship EML Admiral Cowan (M313) , the Norwegian Navy ship Hinnøy (M343) and the Dutch Navy Ship Schiedam (M860) last week. It is worth looking in a little more detail into what these ships of Standing NATO Mine Counter-Measures Group ONE (SNMCMG1) are used for.
The Standing NATO Maritime Groups, are a multinational, integrated maritime force made up of vessels from various allied countries. These vessels are permanently available to NATO to perform a variety of tasks ranging from participating in exercises to intervening in operational missions.
These particular ships have recently taken part in the NATO exercise, Trident Juncture which was considered one the biggest and most ambitious NATO exercise in more than a decade. It was estimated that 68 surface ships, 9 submarines, 8 maritime patrol aircraft and over 3000 Marines participated in the exercise.
As well as the exercises, the SNMCMG1 ships and crew have been engaged in a port visits and mine clearance operations in order to contribute to NATO collective defense and regional security.
Although the port visits are relatively low key, they do provide evidence of the way that NATO bring together ships of different countries for maritime security and show NATO’s readiness in the region. Over the last year, the SNMCMG1 ships have visited 33 ports of 13 different nations.