ORP Kormoran and ORP Drużno – two vessels representing the 8th Coastal Defence Flotilla in the international exercise “Northern Coasts 21”, returned after more than two weeks to their home ports in Świnoujście and Gdynia. Northern Coasts 21, returned after more than two weeks to their home ports in Świnoujście and Gdynia.
Another edition of the Northern Coasts exercise held periodically since 2007 came to an end. Over 30 ships, 10 aircrafts and helicopters, 2 thousand soldiers from 13 countries took part in the manoeuvres held off the coast of Sweden. The ORP Kormoran minesweeper from the 13th minesweeper Squadron (for the first time in international exercises) and the ORP Drużno minesweeper from the 12th minesweeper Squadron were sent to participate in the manoeuvres.
Northern Coasts 2021 is an exercise aimed at improving the capability of maritime forces to conduct combined stability and security operations in the Baltic Sea area. The exercise enables joint training in larger, international formations, thereby enhancing the ability of national representatives to work in multinational initiatives. In this way relations are strengthened and cooperation with allies and partner countries improved.
The exercise began on 10 September with a stop in Karlskrona, Sweden, where the port phase of the exercise, the so-called ‘Pre-Sail Conference’, was held, which included briefings and meetings of crews preceding the implementation of tasks at sea. At these meetings the details of the exercises were established and the commanders of the ships received the first exercise introductions and tasks.
During the 13 days of exercises many different tasks were carried out. The ships perfected e.g. mine defence procedures, cooperation of forces during surface and air attacks. The manoeuvres took place in areas difficult for navigation due to the shape of the bottom and the prevailing weather conditions.
The ORP and ORP operated in groups with the Swedish units in the area of Karlskrona and then performed Mine Countermeasures (MCM) in areas designated by the organiser. The crews had the opportunity to demonstrate a high level of specialist training in fighting anchor and bottom mines. The success of the exercise is further proof that the Partnership for Peace can work together even during a global pandemic.
Photo: Capt. Mar. Dariusz Konefał