The Open Spirit-98 naval exercise, the first ever to involve the Baltic joint naval squadron BALTRON, began on September 12 in Estonian waters. Until September 22, fifteen ships and 800 sailors from eleven NATO, Nordic and Baltic countries will practice mine-detection and mine-sweeping. In the process they will help clear Estonian waters of mines and torpedoes left there during both world wars. Open Spirit-98 is being held in the framework of NATO’s Partnership for Peace program under the command of Germany’s Frigate-Captain Heinz-Georg Buss aboard the Hameln. The exercise is in part a follow-up to mine-sweeping operations conducted by NATO and Nordic countries’ navies in the Gulf of Riga in 1995-97 (BNS, September 11).
LITPOLBAT TAKES TO THE FIELD.