Explosive clearing on Op OPEN SPIRIT

An M-06 naval mine is detonated off the coast of Mērsrags, Latvia, on August 28, 2017 as part of Operation OPEN SPIRIT 2017, an annual multinational operation dedicated to the clearance and disposal of explosive remnants from the First and Second World Wars.
Photo: Cpl Jordan Lobb, Canadian Forces Combat Camera

Explosives from both World Wars cleared during Op OPEN SPIRIT


Eleven CAF clearance divers and support personnel participated in Op OPEN SPIRIT 2017 in Latvia from August 18 to 31, 2017. These CAF members come from the Fleet Diving Units (Atlantic and Pacific) in Halifax, Nova Scotia and Esquimalt, British Columbia. They worked alongside personnel from the Latvian Naval Flotilla and 13 other partner nations.

Their mission was to clear explosive remnants of the First and Second World Wars in the Baltic Sea. Op OPEN SPIRIT is a multinational naval mine clearance and ordnance disposal mission. It is hosted on a yearly rotational basis since 1997 by one of three Baltic nations – Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. It aims to reduce the threat of unexploded ordnance throughout the Baltic Sea region, including seabed communications lines, international shipping routes, and fishing areas.

Although the CAF’s participation in Operation OPEN SPIRIT 2017 is not part of Op REASSURANCE, this deployment of Canadian experts in disposing sub-surface munitions demonstrates the CAF’s reinforced role in NATO and commitment with Allies and defence and security partners in the region. CAF members were previously sent to Latvia as part of Operation OPEN SPIRIT 2014.