The Royal Australian Navy’s minehunters, HMA ships Diamantina and Gascoyne, have joined the Multinational Mine Warfare Exercise 2019 (MIWEX 19) off the coast of South Korea.

MIWEX is a mine countermeasures training exercise involving the US, South Korea and UN Command sending states.

It is designed to enhance readiness to respond to any crisis on the Korean peninsula.

This year’s exercise represents only the second time the RAN has deployed its minehunters to MIWEX.

It is also the first time personnel from the RAN Task Group Command (CTG) have embarked on a Republic of Korea (ROK) warship.

The two minehunters will work with units from the ROK Navy and the US Navy to search, identify and clear maritime mines in the south of ROK.

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HMAS Diamantina commanding officer lieutenant commander Darren McDevitt said: “Both ships and crews are ready for the sea phase of the exercise and are prepared to meet any challenge.

“Diamantina has maintained a high operational tempo this year and we can bring that experience to the exercise and show the international partners our excellence in mine warfare.”

The two Australian ships will be supported by remote mine disposal vehicles in the mine-hunting drill.

MIWEX 2019 is said to feature more challenging conditions than last year’s edition.

Task Group commander Brett Dawe said: “Now that the shore phase and desktop exercises have been successfully completed, this is the time that we can hone our hands-on skills in partnership with our hosts and the US Navy.”

The exercise involves participants and observers from across the United Nations.