A Royal Navy clearance diver from Sheffield is currently taking part in NATO’s largest maritime exercise of the year in the Baltic Sea.
Adam Whittingham, aged 30, is deployed in Minehunter HMS Quorn, one of 49 ships involved in the multi-national exercise, carrying more than 5,000 personnel from 17 nations.
Adam, of Grenoside, said: “BALTOPS is an amazing opportunity to work with ships from so many different nations and to get some real hands-on experience with live ordnance.
“It gives us the chance to demonstrate our skills and capabilities, but also the opportunity to work with and learn from our allies.”
The UK has three ships deployed on Exercise BALTOPS, along with Army and RAF personnel. It is the largest number of ships the UK has ever sent on the annual exercise - a demonstration of the UK’s ongoing commitment to NATO and allied nations.
Adam, who attended Yewlands secondary school before joining the Royal Navy in 2013, is one member of the ship’s six man Clearance Diving team, tasked with clearing shipping lanes of historic mines and ordinance both at home and overseas. Prior to BALTOPS the ship took part in ‘Operation Open Spirit,’ an annual multinational naval mine clearance and ordnance disposal event in the Baltic, designed to remove the 85,000 mines laid during the two World Wars.
Within a two-week window, the group successfully located 200 mines and destroyed fifty of them - one of which was dived on and destroyed by Adam himself.
Adam added: “Being away for months at a time can be difficult, but we couldn’t do it without the support of our families and friends back home.
“I’m looking forward to seeing everyone when we get back to the UK.”
The exercise runs until June 20 and HMS Quorn returns home to Portsmouth next month.