Danmark leads mine sweeping task
For the entirety of 2019, one of the Danish Defenses’ inspection ships will be in charge of NATO's task of removing old naval mines in the Baltic Sea and the eastern part of the Atlantic Ocean. The reason for the task is to keep the shipping lanes free of dangerous mines.
“The defenses’ task is to make sure that there are no mines to threaten shipping and our allied ships” says commander and leader of the mine sweeping task, Peter Krogh.
It has been estimated that somewhere around 180,000 naval mines were placed in the Baltic Sea between 1848 and 1945, many of them during the First and Second World War. Of these, around 35,000-50,000 have been removed or blown away, which means that there are still many left in the sea.
Natos mine sweeping group, which Denmark has command of in 2019, has the title Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group 1. It consists of five to six ships supplied NATO countries. The ships are replaced regularly.
Denmark will be leading the force. The Thetis flagship will be carrying out the sweeoing, as the ship designed to carry out such tasks. This means, among other things, that the ship can take on Danish mine clearers for certain parts of the year. When the force reaches its peak in 2019, 10 ships will be working on sweeping, and a total of 20 different ships will have been part of the task in 2019.
Source: Forsvaret / Maritime Danmark