The Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group 1 (SNMCMG1) fleet contingent is increasing patrols in the Baltic Sea after two subsea cables between Estonia and Sweden were damaged. The Netherlands is part of the squadron of minehunters with HNLMS Vlaardingen.

To uncover suspicious activities in time, the alliance also keeps a close eye on the situation in the Baltic Sea from the air. Maritime reconnaissance aircraft, AWACS radar aircraft and drones have been deployed for this purpose.

Also read: First new Dutch Mine Countermeasure Vessel hits the water

Keeping infrastructure safe

Since the sabotage of the Nord Stream pipelines in September 2022, NATO already reinforced patrols near critical infrastructure. Earlier this year, the alliance also deployed a coordination cell to keep subsea infrastructure safe.

The Vlaardingen has a crew of 35 and has been sailing for the SNMCMG1 since August. The Belgian BNS Crocus has also been deployed for the NATO reaction force. The fleet’s focus includes clearing explosives in the Baltic Sea.

SNMCMG1 is part of the NATO Response Force, NATO’s rapid reaction force. The navy continuously provides minehunters to NATO for rapidly deployable fleet deployments. This allows the alliance to call on them directly for military operations.

Picture: HNLMS Vlaardingen (by the Dutch Ministry of Defence).

Also read: Netherlands to provide Ukraine with two minehunters