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”Kuršis" will enter NATO Naval Mine Countermeasures Force in an international exercise ”Amber Sea"

2006.09.28
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Arranged and headed by the Lithuanian Navy the biggest Minehunters and Minesweepers exercise this year ”Amber Sea 06" will take place in the territorial waters and the exclusive economic zone of Lithuania on September 29 – October 07.

The beginning of the exercise is highly important for the Lithuanian Navy: on September 29 Lithuania will officially contribute the Minehunter and Minesweeper ”Kuršis" (M51) to the NATO Mine Countermeasures Force Standing NATO MCM Group 1 as a full member, i.e. a member of NATO Mine Countermeasures Force.

The exercise will be attended by the NATO Mine Countermeasures Force Standing NATO MCM Group 1, headed by Andreas Stricker, Commander s.g. of

German Navy. The group is constituted of 10 Navy ships from nine NATO member countries: Lithuania, Germany, Denmark, Belgium, Holland, Estonia, Norway, Poland, and UK. Three ships from the Baltic squadron BALTRON, headed by the Commander j.g. of Latvia Navy Juris Roze will participate in the exercise as well. Other vessels of Lithuania Navy will also attend the naval exercises. The number of naval exercise participants amounts to 17 this year.

In the course of the exercise torpedoes, mines, depth- and aerobombs, and other explosive ordnance remaining from last two world wars and postwar will be hunted. Lithuania Air Force helicopters will participate in ”Amber 06" as well.

In the summer of 2006 the Minehunter and Minesweeper ”Kuršis" (M51) underwent the conclusive ship examination in Belgium. The examination points were the preparation level of the ship and the crew to take part in NATO forces, technical condition of the vessel, crew's theoretical knowledge and practical skills of ship control, preparations for the actions to insure the ship's viability, radio connection procedures, etc.

The commission found the Mine Countermeasures Force ”Kuršis" suitable according to NATO requirements for ships and their crews and ready to join the NATO Mine Countermeasures Force Standing NATO MCM Group 1.

”Kuršis" will attend ”PASSEX" naval exercise in Poland in the beginning and ”Flatex Silver" exercise in Norway in the end of November as a unit of NATO Naval Mine Countermeasures Force.

Last year the ”Amber sea 2005" exercise was hosted by Estonia where Lithuania was represented by the Lithuania Navy vessel ”Vėtra".

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