TALLINN (Sputnik) – The exercises are aimed at ridding Baltic waters of masses of unexploded ordnance left over from World War I and World War II.
"The drills, which will be attended by 19 ships from 15 countries, as well as seven teams of divers, will be held from May 15 to May 29. Ships and military personnel from the United States, Belgium, Estonia, the Netherlands, Canada, Lithuania, Latvia, Norway, Poland, France, Sweden, Germany, Finland, Denmark and the United Kingdom arrived to participate in the Open Spirit 2015," Estonia's General Staff said in statement.
The search of mines will be carried out in the Tallinn Bay, Irbe Strait and off the coast of Saaremaa and Muhu islands.
The Open Spirit naval exercises are held annually since 1997 under the NATO Partnership for Peace program.
About 150,000 mines were planted in the Baltic Sea, including nearly 80,000 — in the Gulf of Finland — during the World War I and the World War II. Since 1994, at least 700 mines and other explosive devices have been detected in the Estonian territorial waters.