Public welcomed on to mine sweepers

IPSWICH is today playing host to five ships preparing to hunt and destroy mines and bombs off the east coast. The Standing NATO Response Force Mine Countermeasures Group 1, comprising of mine hunters and mine sweepers from Latvia, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and Great Britain, is welcoming the public aboard this weekend before it heads out to the North Sea.

IPSWICH is today playing host to five ships preparing to hunt and destroy mines and bombs off the east coast.

The Standing NATO Response Force Mine Countermeasures Group 1, comprising of mine hunters and mine sweepers from Latvia, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and Great Britain, is welcoming the public aboard this weekend before it heads out to the North Sea.

Overall commander of the operation, Commander Serge Ots of the Belgain Navy, said: “There is a huge amount of unexploded mines left and a number of mine fields still there from the Second World War.

“Most floating mines were sunk after the war but they are still at the bottom of the sea. They are not a danger to shipping but they can be dangerous to fishing vessels. We find them on the sea bed and destroy them.”

Speaking from the bridge of HMS Brocklesby, Mr Ots said the ships are opening their doors to the public to show people what NATO is doing for them and how their operation works.

He added: “It gives us a chance to share our experiences and talk about what we are doing.”

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Docked at Ipswich's Cliff Quay, four of the five ships were due to be open to the public from 2pm to 4pm today and tomorrow.

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