Estonia to host 2018 edition of international ordnance disposal drill Open Spirit

The Estonian naval forces are hosting this year’s edition of the international Baltic Sea ordnance disposal drill Open Spirit.

The exercise is taking place from May 11 to 25 and will welcome 800 participants, the Estonian defense ministry announced following a January 23 planning conference which took place in Tallinn, Estonia.

Exercises will take place in different training areas in Estonian waters ranging from Tallinn to the Sõrve peninsula, according to Lieutenant Commander Peeter Ivask, Commander of the Navy Fleet.

Overall 20 different mine countermeasure ships from 15 countries, including ships from NATO’s Standing Mine Countermeasures Group 1, are scheduled to join the exercise.

Open Spirit is organized by the navies of the Baltic States and takes place once a year on a rotating basis in Estonia, Latvia or Lithuania. The exercise aims to reduce the threat of unexploded ordnance throughout the Baltic Sea region, including seabed communications lines, international shipping routes, and fishing areas.

Last year’s edition of the exercise was hosted by Latvia.