The M917 Crocus mine-hunter returned to her home port of Zeebrugge after a mission lasting over 3 months. The ship and her crew have been part of NATO’s permanent anti-mine squadron since August. As well as the Belgian ship, this squadron includes mine-hunters from the Netherlands, Germany, Estonia, Lithuania, Norway, and Poland. The Crocus left on August 24th for 2 lengthy exercises, first in Finland, then in Scotland, after which it went to Baie de Somme in France, where it served to clear historic explosives, including some dating back to World War Two.
“During this mission we detected 7 explosives. We were able to move and defuse 4 of them ourselves,” explained Captain Kurt De Winter, qualifying the trip as successful. “With our Belgian ship and our crew we have once again shown we can be leaders in this squadron. Our school and our well-trained team are renowned in the sphere of mine removal,” he adds.
Lithuania led the squadron for the first time. It is now the turn of the Netherlands. Belgium will command the squadron in the second half of 2015.