NATO Clears Historic Ordnances Along French Coast

One of NATO`’s four standing multinational maritime groups, Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group 1 (SNMCMG1) has recently conducted a Historical Ordnance Disposal (HOD) Operations along the French coast.

In total, they have disposed eight historical sea mines from the seabed.

The HOD Operation ran between March 23 and April 5 in the area of Le Tréport. In total six ships from six different nations were involved in the operation, searching an area of 20,3 square nautical miles and disposed of eight historical ordnances. The operation identified 94 underwater objects in total, after which these were examined more closely by underwater remotely controlled vehicles or divers.

“By working closely together also in times of crisis, SNMCMG1 continues to conduct our operations. By removing historical ordnances from the seabed we keep the sea lines of communication safe for modern seafarers,” said Commander of Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group One, Commander S.G. Henning Knudsen-Hauge.

Historic ordnance from World War 2 is cleared by Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group One off the coast of Le Treport, France on 25 March, 2020. Photo credit: WO Marius Villanger (NOR Navy), SNMCMG1 PAO
Historic ordnance from World War 2 is cleared by Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group One off the coast of Le Treport, France on 25 March, 2020. Photo credit: WO Marius Villanger (NOR Navy), SNMCMG1 PAO

By disposing the sea mines and other historical ordnances, the group made the sea a safer place for fishermen, merchant shipping, underwater operations and oil and gas installations. Although the mines are no longer active, they still pose a threat if they are exposed to an anchor, underwater installations, divers or other operations on the seabed. By removing the explosives, they also removed the threat.

The recently cleared area will in the future facilitate a wind farm outside Le Tréport, France.

SNMCMG1 is one of four standing forces that comprise the maritime component of the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF), which is part of the NATO Response Force (NRF). To respond to contingency situations additional forces can be added to these groups, with the NATO command staff on board and the ships of the group as the nucleus, capable of providing timely support to NATO operations.

SNMCMG1 was comprised of six assets during the operation: BNS Bellis (Belgium), FS Andromède (France), HNLMS Willemstad (Netherlands), HNoMS Otra (Norway), HMS Grimsby (Great Britain) and flagship FGS Donau (Germany).

In 2019, NATO Mine Countermeasures operations cleared from mines and other historic ordnances a total of 220 square nautical miles of Allied territory.

Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group One (SNMCMG1)
From the left: HNLMS Willemstad, BNS Bellis, FGS Donau, HMS Grimsby, HNoMS Otra linked together for a photo during Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group One (SNMCMG1) historic ordnance disposal operations in Oslofjord, Norway on March 1, 2020. Photo by: PO Marius Vagenes Villanger.

Story by SNMCMG1 Public Affairs Office



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