In the Gulf of Tallinn, a joint international exercise was conducted to practice responding to a search and rescue scenario

Yesterday, the Estonian Police and Border Guard Board, the Estonian Navy, and the Finnish Border Guard participated in a joint exercise to practice boarding activities and rescuing people from the water as well as liberating a ship from the hands of criminals.

According to the exercise scenario, criminals seized a ship that was near Naissaar. As a result, part of the ship's crew ended up in the water and needed to be rescued. The criminals who had taken over the ship were apprehended by the police’s special unit K-Komando, whose task was to liberate the ship along with the remaining crew.

The role of the vessel being liberated was undertaken by the Navy ship ENS Kindral Kurvits. The exercise also involved the Finnish Border Guard vessel RV92, police and Navy patrol boats, and a PPA helicopter. The coordination of the search and rescue efforts for the people at sea was handled by the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre (JRCC Tallinn).
Marge Kohtla, Head of the Maritime Safety Group at the Police and Border Guard Board, stated that serious maritime incidents always require the collaboration of multiple agencies and often even multiple countries. "Moreover, there have been significant changes in our country in recent years, such as the integration of Police and Border Guard vessels into the Navy, which has brought new tasks to the Navy itself. Exercises provide a good opportunity to practice cooperation so that we can respond as smoothly as possible to real incidents," said Kohtla.

Captain Lieutenant Tarmo Sepp, Head of the Patrol Vessels Division in the Navy, noted that one of the Navy's tasks, among others, is to support the Police and Border Guard Board in rescue operations and law enforcement tasks. "Although we engage in daily collaboration across these areas with the authorities, it is essential to continuously practice more complex situations, primarily between the PPA's Joint Rescue Coordination Centre and the Navy's patrol vessels," he said.

The European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex), the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA), and the European Fisheries Control Agency (EFCA) were also actively involved in the exercise which was held in the framework of the ongoing Multipurpose Maritime Operation (MMO).

This Multipurpose Maritime Operation is being led by EMSA in collaboration with Estonian, Finnish, and Latvian authorities, as well as EFCA and Frontex. The operation takes place in the Baltic Sea from 1 June to 31 August. Its focus is on supporting maritime safety, search and rescue operations, border control, fisheries control, maritime surveillance, and environmental protection in the waters of the three countries.

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