London is lucky enough to attract a wide range of naval vessels as visitors and for the last 6 days the West India Dock in Canary Wharf has been the temporary home of 7 ships of the NATO Maritime Command’s Standing NATO Mine Counter-Measures Group One – also known as SNMCMG1.
NATO MARCOM has four standing naval groups and these are composed of temporarily assigned vessels from the various NATO nations – this group is led by the Lithuanian Navy with ships from Belgium, Estonia, Germany, Latvia, Poland and the Netherlands.
An interesting note is that LNS Jotvingis, the lead ship of the flotilla, was originally built as a mine layer / command vessel but is now primarily used in the latter role.
SNMCMG1 is focused on counter mine warfare operations with the aim of keeping shipping lanes and ports free of mines and undertakes numerous exercises around the waters of Northern Europe.
The group also has a role to help with the disposal of legacy mines from previous conflicts and the SNMCMG1 group had just completed some live mine clearance activities off the coast of Normandy clearing mines left over from WW2.
As 7 ships were visiting they arrived and departed over two tides to allow sufficient time for the lock and berthing operations so some of the movements were during the night – unfortunately at this time of the year the days are short and the weather isn’t always the best so with warships you often get pictures with many shades of grey!
Click here for a few more pictures of the visitors.