Poles completed command of Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group 1 team

Mine Defence Force Group 1

After six months, the Poles have completed command of the Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group 1 (SNMCMG1), the so-called Mine Shield of Europe. Lieutenant Commander Artur Krüger of the German Navy took command on Monday.

Command of the NATO Standing Mine Defence Force Group 1 was officially handed over on Monday to Lieutenant Commander Artur Krüger of the German Navy, who will command the SNMCMG1 team from aboard the FGS Donau and his staff.

Since 6 July last year, the first of the NATO Mine Countermeasures Groups was headed by Lieutenant Commander Piotr Bartosewicz, who, together with the international staff, led the ships’ activities of the so-called European Mine Shield. Their tasks included ensuring the safety of shipping routes in the Baltic, North Sea and eastern part of the Atlantic and searching for, destroying and neutralising any remnants of World War II.

– Six months of very intensive work, we took part in three major exercises: Sandy Coasts, Northern Coasts and Freezing Wings in Finland. The largest of the three exercises was Northern Coasts – 30 surface vessels took part, 15 of which were under our command,’ summarised Lieutenant Commander Piotr Bartosewicz.

As a result of the operations, around 50 dangerous objects were successfully neutralised, and an area of nearly 190 square kilometres of sea was checked.

– This is a very great experience and invaluable for all participants of the mission. Some of the soldiers were taking part in this kind of undertaking for the umpteenth time, but for most it was the first time. Six months without a break spent at sea is an invaluable experience,” added Bartosewicz.

For the past six months, Polish sailors have been operating from the command ship of the mine defence force ORP Kontradmirał X. Czernicki. For the first time in history, the Polish Navy also sent Project 207P minesweepers – ORP Drużno and ORP Hańcza – to participate in the NATO team.

At various times, ten ships from six countries operated as part of the team. During the mission, ships from Belgium, France, Germany and Canada, among others, came under Polish command. On board the command ship, the crew of the PKW Czernicki covered nearly 12,000 nautical miles, operating in the northern and eastern parts of the Atlantic, the North Sea and the Baltic Sea.

Photos: 8 FOW

Source: PortalMorski.pl

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