A Look at Baltic Minebusting

A land of fishermen and sailors going back thousands of years, the Latvian Navy was formed in 1919 and survived until the Soviets occupied the country in 1940 but was soon reformed in 1991. Today, the force consists of a dozen assorted coast guard and patrol craft for sovereignty but their most active, and possibly important assets, are the vessels of the very professional Mine Ship Squadron.

NATO just released a very well done 9-minute mini-doc following the LVNS Talivaldis (M-06), an Alkmaar-class (Dutch Tripartite) minehunter of the Latvian Navy, as she performs her very dangerous work in the ancient sea. Formerly the Royal Netherlands Navy minehunter Dordrecht (M852) the 500-ton vessel was sold to Latvia in 2000 after 17 years of service. She has been since modernized with a new AUV A18-M sonar for detection and Seascan MK2 and K-STER C USVs/ROVs for identification and clearance.

In the presser for the video:

The Baltic Sea is said to contain 30,000 leftover unexploded ordnance from two world wars. The crew of Latvian minehunter M-06 Tālivaldis explains how these historic mines pose a threat to both military and civilian ships today, and why it is so important to dispose of them. The ship has been part of Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group One several times; this group is responsible for countering the threat of sea mines and unexploded ordnance in the northern seas.

This is a rare opportunity to explore life on board a Latvian Navy mine-hunting ship as it conducts its work in the Baltic Sea. This footage includes shots of the Tālivaldis in the Baltic Sea, searching for and destroying unexploded historic ordnance as well as interviews with crew members.

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