International Mine Counter Measures Exercise on the Archipelago Sea
The Finnish Navy's Coastal Fleet is holding an International Mine Counter Measures Exercise on the Archipelago Sea 27-28 April 2020, with participants from the Finnish Navy’s 4th Mine Countermeasures Squadron and from NATO's Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group 1.
It is possible to organise the exercise sea, because all of the activity happens on the vessels and the crews are not in close contact with each other. The training exercise does not include a port visit of the NATO vessels to Finland.
- The training exercise consists of a series of smaller exercises that focus on not only on mine countermeasures operations, but also on seamanship and coastal navigation. The smaller exercises have been planned to account for the situation caused by Covid-19, so that there will be no close contact between the crews, says the Commander of the 4th Mine Countermeasures Squadron, Commander Juhani Lehtimäki.
Just as with all other Finnish Defence Forces exercises, a novel Coronavirus risk assessment was also done with this exercise.
- It is very good that we are able to organise this exercise. It is important preparation for us, in view of a further common exercise period together with Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group 1 later this year, Lehtimäki continues.
Cooperation with the Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group 1 is based on the Finnish Katanpää Class Mine counter-measure vessels being a part of NATO's NATO Response Force (NRF) pool for 2020.
The Finnish participants in this exercise are the command echelon of the 4th Mine Countermeasures Squadron and Katanpää Class mine counter-measure vessel Purunpää. Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group 1 participants are the German flagship FGS Donau, Dutch minehunter HNLMS Willemstad and the Norwegian minesweeper HNOMS Otra.
- Finland is one of NATOs closest partners, and we share common interest of regional stability and maritime security in the Baltic Sea. We are grateful for the opportunity to train, exercise and interact with the Finnish Navy, says Commander of Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group 1, Henning Knudsen-Hauge.
The exercise director is Commander Juhani Lehtimäki. The training exercise has been approved by the Finnish Ministry of Defence as part of the international exercise plan for 2020.