US and Indian Navy divers have begun the joint salvage exercises (SALVEX) series of exercises off Port Blair in the Andaman Sea, India.

SALVEX is a seven-day exercise aimed to strengthen US and Indian divers’ capability in diving and salvage techniques.

The techniques that will be demonstrated include operation of underwater remotely operated vehicles (ROVs), side scan SONARs and hot tap equipment, as well as salvage skills on a Mud Monster.

Hot tap equipment is used for removal of oil and fuel from tanks of sunken vessels, while the Mud Monster is a pontoon used to practice salvage and diving exercises.

INS Nireekshak, the Indian Navy’s specialist diving support ship and USS Safeguard, a specialised auxilliary rescue and salvage ship, will be participating in the exercise.

The maiden US-India SALVEX was conducted in 2005 and exercises have been conducted annually since, alternately in Indian and US Pacific locations.