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Estonian Navy Officer took command of Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group One

Today at the ceremony held in Tallinn, Estonian Navy Officer Commander Ott Laanemets was assigned as the new commander of the NATO Mine Countermeasures Group One and took over the responsibilities from Polish Navy Officer Commander Michal Dziugan.

„I am humbled to take command of SNMCMG1. Me and most Estonian sailors have been deployed to SNMCMG1 many times and SNMCMG1 has been a red thin line through the whole of Estonian Navy’s development, integration to NATO and operating alongside allies. Since establishment in 1973 the tasks of SNMCMG1 have remained the same – provide the Alliance with immediately ready mine countermeasures capability and demonstrate the cohesion of allies. I will do my best to deliver a ready mine countermeasures capability for the Alliance during these challenging times,“ said Commander Ott Laanemets.

The new commander will be responsible for leading the unit and maintaining combat readiness as part of the NATO Response Force. This includes training within the SNMCMG1, exercises with allies, mine countermeasures operations and participation in major NATO exercises.

In accordance with the practice of the ceremony, the new commander’s pennant was hoisted on the new SCMCMG1 staff ship LVNS Virsaitis and the former commander’s pennant was returned to Commander Michal Dziugan.

„Every organization, group is as strong, as the people making it, and we had luck to have within the staff and command platform to meet and to cooperate with amazing people,“ said Commander Michal Dziugan.

In addition to the new commander and its staff, the ceremony was also attended by the Polish ambassador in Estonia Grzegorz Kozłowski, the former commander of SNMCMG1, the previous staff, the crew of the new group’s staff ship LVNS Virsaitis and the crew of the minehunter EML Sakala, which will also be part of the SNMCMG1 this year.

Commander Ott Laanemets has formerly been deployed as the commander of EML Sakala and as the chief of staff of SNMCMG1.

Since 2005, Estonia has contributed to the NATO Mine Countermeasures Group one with staff ships, minehunters and a commander and staff. The minehunters take part of the group annually, the Estonian commander and the staff have previously been a part of SNCMGM1 once in 2016-2017.

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