58 wartime explosives removed from Baltic Sea

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The international mine clearance and ordnance disposal exercise Open Spirit 2017 has resulted in disposal of 58 explosive remnants of war found in the Baltic Sea, the Latvian Defense Ministry said.

The annual exercise organized in order to improve navigation safety in the Baltic Sea by clearing unexploded ordnance dating back to World War I and World War II was held from August 18 to August 31.

"We are pleased with the results of the operation this year. Although there is still a lot of work to do because there is a large number of unexploded ordnance lying in the bottom of the Baltic Sea, every mine that we found and removed is a step closer towards more safe navigation," said Janis Auce, Group Commander of Open Spirit 2017.

Fifteen vessels and five teams of clearance divers from ten countries - Belgium, Canada, Estonia, France, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland and the United Kingdom - participated in Open Spirit 2017 with Latvia in the lead role this year.

Ships from the Baltic Naval Squadron and NATO's Standing Mine Counter Measure Group 1 were among the participants.

Operation Open Spirit is a multinational naval mine clearance and ordnance disposal mission. It is hosted on a yearly rotational basis since 1997 by one of three Baltic nations - Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

It aims to reduce the threat of unexploded ordnance throughout the Baltic Sea region, including seabed communications lines, international shipping routes, and fishing areas. 


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