An international NATO operation called Open Spirit has begun in the territorial waters of Lithuania. During the operation, NATO and other countries' ships will clean the bottom of the Baltic sea to ensure that no naval mines or other explosives remain there.
© DELFI / Mindaugas Ažušilis

The operation includes 19 ships from 14 NATO and NATO-partnered countries. For almost two weeks, divers will search the bottom of the Baltic sea for undetonated mines.

During the first and second world wars, more than 100,000 naval mines were deployed in the Baltic sea. About 1,600 mines were placed in Lithuania's territorial waters and exclusive economic zone. Over the 19 years since 1997 when the demining operation has been underway, some of those munitions have been found and neutralised, but a large part still remains,” said the demining operation's head, commander Svajūnas Bandzevičius.

Since 1997, Operation Open Spirit has rotated through Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania every year. The bottom of the Baltic sea is cleaned every year in an effort to ensure safe shipping and fishing.

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