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The commanders of the navies of the Baltic Sea countries met in Estonia

This week, 4-6. of March, Baltic Commanders Conference 2024 was held in Vihula, the main topic of which was the question of ensuring the security of the critical underwater infrastructure of the Baltic Sea region.

“The purpose of the event is to bring representatives of the navies to the same table to jointly find answers to the most burning questions of our region based on the experiences of individual countries,” said Commander of the Estonian Navy Commodore Jüri Saska.

During the three-day conference organized by the Estonian Navy, commanders and representatives of the navies of eight countries – Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Finland, Poland, Sweden, Denmark and Germany – met. In addition, representatives of NATO’s Critical Underwater Infrastructure Center and Vice Admiral Michael Utley, Commander of NATO’s Maritime Command (Allied Maritime Command), took part of the event.

„Critical underwater infrastructure is part of a broader problem set that all the allies face, and indeed all the challenges that would want to face us. What the alliance is doing in standing up the critical underwater infrastructure centre at MARCOM is providing a visual and real hub that allies can talk to so that we can coordinate our activities within the alliance such that that is in harmony with national responses,“ said Commander of the Allied Maritime Command vice admiral Michael Utley.

On the topics of protection and guarding of critical underwater infrastructure, the commander of Allied Maritime Command brought the strategic view of the alliance to the discussions, the representatives of the navies made their presentations based on national experiences.

„We all shared our national perspectives on underwater infrastructure, especially the task for the navies and we found out it is really complicated. One of the bottom line is that we cannot be totally sure that we can safeguard our underwater infrastructure in total. So there will always be risk on it. And we have to be really careful to combine other responsibilities to reach the aim of securing the underwater infrastructure, because we have some other major tasks to fulfill and we cannot bound all our assets just for this purpose. In the end it is a very political issue on top of it,“ said Vice Chief of the German Navy Vice Admiral Frank Lenski.

The Baltic Commanders Conference has been held since 2015 at the initiative of the German Navy, and is organized by various Baltic Sea region countries on a rotating basis. The organizing country has the right to choose the main topic of the conference around which the discussion and presentations will take place.

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