NATO drill Open Spirit kicks off in Estonia

Mine countermeasure ships and personnel from 15 navies gathered in Tallinn, Estonia, for the start of the international Baltic Sea ordnance disposal drill Open Spirit.

SNMCMG1 ships in Tallinn, Estonia. Photo: Estonian Defence Forces

The exercise kicks off Friday and is joined by ships from NATO’s Standing Mine Countermeasures Group 1 (SNMCMG1) among others.

Open Spirit will take place Estonian waters ranging from Tallinn to the Sõrve peninsula and is scheduled to conclude on May 25.

SNMCMG1 ships arrived in Tallinn after concluding their participation in the Royal Navy-led exercise Joint Warrior and wrapping up a visit to Aberdeen, Scotland.

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.

Open Spirit 2017 was hosted by Latvia.