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MHC Vahterpää's deployment in Standing NATO Mine Counter Measures Group ends

Publication date 31.5.2024 13.25
Press release
MHC Vahterpää sailing back home from the deployment.

The naval mine countermeasures vessel MHC Vahterpää's nine-week period as part of Standing NATO Mine Counter Measures Group 1 will end on 31 May 2024, after which the vessel will return to Finland. 

Since 3 April 2024, MHC Vahterpää has been operating under NATO Command under the Transfer of Authority procedure and has carried out the tasks assigned to the group by Allied Maritime Command (MARCOM). The period marks the first time in the Finnish Navy's history that a naval unit has been subordinated to NATO's Standing Naval Forces and NATO Command Structure.

During the period, the unit has deployed in the Baltic Sea, the North Sea and the Norwegian Sea. This is the longest and most distant deployment of the Katanpää class in its history.

- The importance of Finnish expertise and Katanpää class performance for NATO's mission was demonstrated early on in the Open Spirit 2024 exercise. MHC Vahterpää performed excellently in the exercise, finding and destroying the most historical mines in the exercise, as summarised by the Commander of the mine countermeasure vessel Vahterpää, Lieutenant Senior Grade Henri Savisaari.

Experience gained from joint action contributes to the alliance readiness

In the current security environment in the Baltic Sea, the joint operation of the Finnish ship within NATO is of great importance and enhances the alliance's ability to response quickly to different events. Early operations during the period proved that MHC Vahterpää is fully compatible with NATO's Mine Counter Measures Group. The strengths of the Finnish vessel and personnel in mine warfare served the objectives of the group well.

- Through the observations gathered during the deployment, the Navy will be able to further develop its operations, which will enable smoother preparation for operations and cooperation with the group in the years to come, Savisaari added.

In addition to the ship's enlisted personnel, 12 contracted soldiers who have previously served on this class of vessel during their military service participated in the deployment.