On September 30 - October 1 Navy Captain Giedrius Premeneckas, Commander of the Lithuanian Navy Captain took part in the Baltic Navies Commanders Conference in Kuressaare, Estonia, alongside his Latvian and Estonian counterparts, Navy Captain Kaspars Zelčs and Rear Admiral Jüri Saska respectively, and staff members.
The Navy Commanders discussed a range of trilateral cooperation issues at the Conference: those concerning Baltic Naval Squadron (BALTRON) activity, arrangement of officer training courses and diver training courses, and other joint initiatives. Other subject-matter experts met separately in working groups.
The Conference wrapped with a signature of a joint statement, as customary. Such events are held biannually on a rotationally basis by one of the Baltic Navies. Next conference is due in spring 2022 in Lithuania.
The trilateral Baltic Naval Squadron was formed by Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia as part of the Baltic defence cooperation in 1998 for the tasks key to regional safety of the Baltics: diminishing the risk caused by naval mines in the exclusive economic zones and territorial waters of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, expanding mutual understanding and increasing interoperability and abilities of cooperation with NATO units.
The experience gained within BALTRON facilitates training and readiness for standby for the NATO Response Force (NRF) or assignment to a Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group. Estonia stopped contributing national capabilities to BALTRON in 2015, since then, the unit activities are carried out by Lithuania and Latvia and Estonia contributes to individual cooperation events and exercises.
The Balti Navies also annually hold a large-scale international maneuvers Baltic Fortress that involves naval units from many NATO and partner nations. Last iteration of Baltic Fortress took place in June in Lithuania.
Aside from BALTRON, the Baltic states also develop international cooperation through other projects, such as the Naval Communications Training Centre established in Estonia, the Baltic States Diving Training Centre and the MCM Training and Equipment Maintenance Centre in Latvia, and through the Baltic Naval Intermediate Command and Staff Course, and the Baltic Naval Gunnery and Deck Equipment Maintenance Centre in Lithuania.
Photo credits: Master Chief Petty Officer Michailas Karpuzovas