Finland and Sweden swap ships for navy exercises

The Baltic Sea operation saw ships from Finland and Sweden take orders directly from the other country's naval commands for the first time.

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File picture of Swedish naval vessel HMS Helsingborg, as seen from the Finnish naval vessel Uusimaa / Credit: Finnish Navy

The Finnish and Swedish navies are taking good neighbourly relations to a new level by swapping command of their ships during a recent naval exercise.

Last week, the Finnish vessel FNS Uusimaa took its orders directly from Sweden’s naval command; while the Swedish vessel HMS Helsingborg got its orders from Finland’s naval command in Turku.

While the two navies have taken part in many joint exercises before, this was the first time the ships had been placed under direct control from their neighbours’ naval command headquarters.

“The intensive cooperation in maritime surveillance and its development with shared resources improves the preparedness of both countries in different situations” explains Commodore Misa Kangaste, from the Finnish Navy.

The rationale behind the recent exercise is that working together is more effective than working individually especially on issues like maritime surveillance.

“It increases the credibility of both countries’ naval forces if we can lead each other’s vessels when needed and exchange information about the maritime situation” says Anders Åkermark from the Swedish navy’s operations department.

The Finnish ship Uusimaa is a Hämeenmaa-class minelayer which can operate in thick sea ice conditions with a crew of 60 on board.

The Finnish ship Helsingborg is a Visby-class corvette and entered service in 2009 with a crew complement of 43.

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