The Italian Navy's two minesweepers ITS Vieste and ITS Chioggia have concluded a recovery operation in the waters of the Gulf of Taranto, as part of efforts to hone their capabilities.
Claimed to be a routine activity, the operation holds significance because of the depths of underwater interventions, the size of objects recovered, and cooperation with a private company, Gay Marine.
The track, detect and recovery operation involved the use of Gay Marine's Pluto Palla remotely operated underwater vehicle (ROV) with ITS Chioggia.
The operation is said to have made use of the dual capabilities of the Italian minesweepers to perform recovery missions using autonomous underwater vehicles for the localisation, identification, photo and video recording of objects smaller than mines, at great depths.
The Italian minesweepers also performed operations with the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities, the judiciary and other government agencies, as well as deep sea exploration for the location and recovery of ship or aircraft wrecks, archaeological finds, or any other object lying on the sea bottom.
The minesweepers also play a role in the preservation of the marine ecosystems by collaborating with universities and the Directorate General for Safety of Mining and Energy Activities, National Mining Office for Hydrocarbons and Georesources of the Ministry of Economic Development.
The Lerici-class minehunter ITS Vieste operates under the banner of CINCNAV through the 53rd Minesweeping Flotilla Command (COMSQUADRAG 53) and Countermeasures Mines and Armed Forces Command (COMFORDRAG / COMFORAUS).
ITS Chioggia is a Gaeta-class minehunter.
Image: Minesweepers engaged during the operation in the Gulf of Taranto. Photo: courtesy of Ministero Della Difesa.