Lithuanian and Dutch combat divers ready Baltic coastline for debarkation operation


As second phase of the multinational Exercise BALTOPS 2012 began combat divers of Lithuania and the Netherlands prepare for the major day of the Exercise in the territorial waters of Lithuania on the Baltic Sea near Nemirseta (Palanga Distr.) – debarkation operation which is held in Lithuania for the first time.

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Personnel of the Combat Divers Service of the Lithuanian Special Operations Forces and the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Diving Unit of the Lithuanian Navy survey sublitoral zone and reconnoitre seafloor of the Baltic Sea together with the personnel of the Diving and Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group of the Royal Netherlands Navy to prepare zones safe from naval mines for debarkation of Lithuanian and US military personnel from floating tracked amphibians. Lithuanian SOF troops will also utilize combat boarding boats for the operation.

„We anticipate successful cooperation during the coming two weeks with combat divers from the Royal Netherlands Navy which will contribute to an even closer interoperability among the multinational forces working jointly in the spirit of Partnership for Peace“, said Commander of the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Diving Unit of the Lithuanian Navy Lt Cmdr Mindaugas Andrulis.

Second phase of the multinational Exercise BALTOPS 2012 focuses on integrated training and fostering of interoperability.

Over 130 members of the United States Marine Corps, 8 members of the Diving and Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group of the Royal Netherlands Navy, one NATO staff officer and more than 400 ground, naval, air and special operations forces personnel of Lithuania take part in the current phase of BALTOPS 2012.

BALTOPS 2012 which will conclude on June 16 involves 12 countries – USA, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Germany, France, Denmark, Poland, the Netherlands, Georgia, Russia, and Sweden. The Exercise is held in the territorial waters of Germany, Poland, Lithuania and Estonia in the Baltic Sea.

Multinational cooperation in case of a crisis in the region is enhanced and security in the Baltic Sea region fostered in BALTOPS 2012. During the Exercise military forces will conduct joint maritime operations from manoeuvering and patrolling to joint operations with other forces – air and land.

USA first organised the naval exercise BALTOPS in 1972. Since 1993 the series has been held under the Partnership for Peace program. Over four decades BALTOPS grew both in number of participating forces and in magnitude becoming one of the largest training events in the Baltic Region. Lithuania has been sending naval assets to take part in BALTOPS since 1994.

Source:
Ministry of National Defense Republic of Lithuania