SNMCMG1 Tests Its Skills within Exercise NORTHERN COASTS 2013
On Monday, 9 September 2013, the ships of Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group One (SNMCMG1) joined more than 40 ships, 10 helicopters, and 2500 participants from 15 nations in Exercise NORTHERN COASTS 2013.
The annual exercise, which runs through September 19, follows a fictitious scenario in which SNMCMG1 is tasked with ensuring the safety of navigation for other units from the coalition. According to the scenario, once the sea lines of communication have been cleared from any possible underwater explosives, humanitarian assistance could be delivered to the affected region. Along with the mine-hunting operations, the ships participating in the exercise will have to defend against the threat of air strikes, assaults from other ships and asymmetric threats.
Though NORTHERN COASTS 2013 is based on a fictitious scenario, it helps prepare exercise participants to face potentially dangerous real-life situations that may occur while at sea.
“The scenario will test our skills in crisis response, protection of maritime transport, counter-terrorism and counter-piracy, embargo enforcement, humanitarian assistance and rescue operations – virtually all the military aspects of peacekeeping operations at sea,” said SNMCMG1’s Commander Piotr Sikora.
In its final phase, the exercise will involve combined naval, air and land operations.
SNMCMG1 provides a continuous maritime mine countermeasures capability for operations in peacetime and periods of conflict. The force demonstrates the support of the contributing nations to the NATO alliance. SNMCM Groups are key assets in the NATO Response Force (NRF) and are able to fulfill a wide range of roles from humanitarian tasks to high intensity operations. They are able to deploy at short notice and are often the first assets to go into an operational theatre, both enabling and making a significant contribution to subsequent naval operations.
SNMCMG1 makes the sea a safer place for everyone, conducting Historical Ordnance Disposal operations to minimize the threat from old mines for all those who use the sea for their benefit – fishermen, cargo ships, ferries and the like.
Press Release, September 11, 2013; Image: NATO ACO