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16 Feb 2023

NATO clears Historic Ordnance along Netherlands coast

NATO clears Historic Ordnance along Netherlands coast
Originally posted on NATO Allied Maritime Command

NATO’s Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group (SNMCMG1) successfully conducted the controlled detonation of a British World War II-era bomb off the coast of the Netherlands near Amsterdam, Feb. 7 neutralizing a significant maritime threat.

SNMCMG1, led by flagship Norwegian Navy HNOMS Nordkapp, was conducting historical mine countermeasures operations in the region when local fishermen spotted mine-like objects in the water and reported them to local authorities.

SNMCMG1 worked in close coordination with and in an area designated by local authorities and sent its team to investigate and assess. Four ships participated in the operation. Using remote operated vehicles and explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) divers from German Navy FGS Rottweil, SNMCMG1 discovered 11 underwater objects. The main focus was a 230 kg British aerial bomb left from World War II. SNMCMG1 carried out a controlled detonation to dispose of the unexploded ordnance.

Regardless of age or origin, unexploded ordnance poses a serious threat to all maritime activity. Disposal of sea mines and other historical ordnance creates a safer environment for fishermen, merchant shipping, underwater operations, and oil and gas installations.

SNMCMG1 is one of four standing forces that comprise the maritime component of the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF), which is part of the NATO Response Force (NRF). To respond to contingency situations additional forces can be added to these groups, with the NATO command staff on board and the ships of the group as the nucleus, capable of providing timely support to NATO operations. 

SNMCMG1 is currently comprised of four assets Estonian Navy Ensign Admiral Cowan, Royal Norwegian Navy flagship HNoMS Nordkapp, German Navy FGS Rottweil, and Royal Netherlands Navy HNLMS Schiedam. 

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