Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group 1 (SNMCMG1) is scheduled to stop in Turku, Finland, for a port visit on April 25. The visit provides the crew an opportunity to collaborate with the Finnish Navy, re-supply and experience the culture and hospitality of NATO’s partner nation, Finland. Led by Estonian Navy Commander Ott Laanemets, SNMCMG1 comprises flagship Latvian Navy LNVS Virsaitis (A53), Estonian Navy ENS Sakala (M314), and Royal Netherlands Navy NHLMS Schiedam (M860). Allied nations’ forces specifically support this operation in various ways through active, standby, or associated support.
This a valuable opportunity for SNMCMG1 to work with Finnish partners. As of 9 April 2022, SNMCMG1 warships consists of: Latvia (Flagship) Vidar-class minelayer Virsaitis, Germany Frankenthal-class minehunter Bad Bevensen, Estonia Sandown-class minehunter EML Sakala, United Kingdom Sandown-class minehunter HMS Grimsby, Belgium Tripartite-class minehunter Lobelia and Netherlands Tripartite-class minehunter, HNLMS Schiedam.
Following the visit, SNMCMG1 is scheduled to participate in an exercise led by Finland’s Coastal Fleet in the Archipelago Sea in addition to a passing exercise (PASSEX), with a focus on mine countermeasures and seamanship. The PASSEX is designed to train participants in operating in a multinational framework. Finnish Coastal Fleet Katanpää-class Mine Hunters Purunpää and Vahterpää, and 4th Mine Countermeasures Squadron Staff will participate. SNMCMG1 operates under NATO’s Allied Maritime Command (MARCOM). MARCOM serves as the hub of maritime security information sharing for the Alliance.
Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group 1 (SNMCMG1) is a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) standing mine countermeasures immediate reaction force. Its role is to provide NATO with an immediate operational response capability. From its activation at Ostend on 11 May 1973, the unit was initially called Standing Naval Force Channel (STANAVFORCHAN). From 3 September 2001 it was known as the Mine Countermeasures Force North Western Europe (MCMFORNORTH) and from 1 January 2005 it became Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group 1.