Estonia will in January 2014 take over command of the Baltic Naval Squadron (BALTRON) to which the Estonian Navy will contribute a mission unit and a staff and support vessel.
The 15th anniversary of the establishment of the joint Baltic mine countermeasures was marked in Klaipeda, Lithuania in August. The squadron started operations in the Mine Harbor in Tallinn.
“In the Baltic mine countermeasures squadron crews of the newly-established Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian navies gained their first experience of action in international operations,” said the chief of the Estonian Navy, Capt. Sten Sepper, who attended the anniversary celebrations together with his Latvian and Lithuanian colleagues. “Thanks to BALTRON the harbors and waterways of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are considerably safer.”
BALTRON comprises the joint Baltic staff and naval vessels of the three states. Each country assigns one minehunter to the squadron for a certain period of time. In addition one ship performs the tasks of staff and support ship.
Staff positions are rotated among officers of the three states. Estonia will next take command of the squadron in January 2014, at the same time contributing to it a mission unit and a staff and support vessel.
The main responsibility of BALTRON is to conduct mine countermeasures operations and training in Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian waters. The unit also participates in NATO exercises.
Source: Estonian MFA
Cover photo: Estonian Sandown-class minehunter EML Admiral Cowan
Photos: Wikimedia Commons