Explosive sea mines are the focus of a multi-national team of divers that annually searches sea beds for dangerous remnants of the First and Second World Wars.
Canadian divers participated in the project, known as Operation Open Spirit. It took the team to Klaipeda, Lithuania, in May. The project, conducted under the Partnership for Peace Agreement, covers the territorial waters of Baltic state NATO members Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia.
The focus of the search this year was waters within five nautical miles of Klaipeda Harbour. The divers’ task was to find and identify more than 60 mine-like contacts. While most of the contacts turned out to be rocks, there were several mines. One was a German moored contact mine that was detonated by Royal Canadian Navy divers. Also found were German AMD 1000 mines, torpedoes, various other types of mines and mine anchors.
Apart from addressing the obvious safety concerns, the project enabled the nations involved to assess and exchange their tactics, techniques and procedures. It was an invaluable experience for participating Canadian divers because live sea mines do not exist in Canada.