Lithuanian minehunter LNS Skalvis joins NATO mine countermeasure group

LNS Skalvis (M53), a Lithuanian Navy minehunter arrived in Kiel, Germany, last weekend to join the Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group One (SNMCMG1).

The Lithuanian ship will take part in SNMCMG1 activities and exercises in the Baltic and the North Seas until December.

Eight ships from Belgium, Estonia, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway and the United Kingdom are assigned for a half-year service with the SNMCMG1. The unit is currently under command of Commander Johan-Elias Seljama of the Estonian Navy while the German Navy tender Elbe will serve as flagship of the group.

During this deployment SNMCMG1 vessels are scheduled to train in Northern Coasts 16 and Noble Mariner/Joint Warrior 16-2 exercises in the Baltic and the North Seas.

LNS Skalvis (M53) was previously assigned to the SNMCMG1 in May-July and October-November 2015, she took part in the international operation for seafloor clearance of explosive remnants Open Spirit and international Exercise BaltOps in the Baltic Sea, and NATO Exercise Trident Juncture 2015.

Lithuania joined SNMCMG1 activities in 2006 by deploying the LNS Kuršis (M51), mine countermeasures vessel to the task force. Moreover, SNMCMG1 was under command of Commander Giedrius Premeneckas of the Lithuanian Navy with LNS Jotvingis (N42) of the Lithuanian Navy as the SNMCMG1 flagship.

SNMCMG1 is a multinationally formed maritime rapid response mine counter-measures unit reporting directly to Commander MARCOM that provides NATO with a capability to provide mine counter-measures in peacetime, war or armed conflict.