Dugong 2015

The mine warfare and dive teams from Australia, Canada, the US and the UK have come together to practice contemporary mine warfare and dive salvage techniques as part of Exercise Dugong 15.

Led by the Royal Australian Navy, the practice involved headquarters personnel from New Zealand, two Swedish officers and one Indian observer.

Exercise Dugong 15, which commenced earlier this month, aimed to strengthen the navies’ skills in water-space management and mine counter measures.

Australian Mine Warfare Clearance Diving Task Group commander Max Muller said: "Ninety-eight per cent of our trade by volume travels by sea – so it is important we preserve maritime security and remain at the cutting edge of mine warfare and salvage diving, to keep maritime traffic flowing.

"During the exercise, each navy demonstrated their latest equipment and skills, as we worked together to locate and deal with sea mines and underwater obstructions within a complex post conflict scenario, in some challenging environmental conditions."

The elements participating in this two-week exercise include the Huon-class mine hunter, HMAS Yarra, and personnel from the Mine Warfare Team Evaluation and Ranging Element.

"It is important we preserve maritime security and remain at the cutting edge of mine warfare and salvage diving,"

It also includes Australian Clearance Diving Team Four and the Hobart-based Australian Naval Reserve Diving Team Ten, as well as the Defence Maritime Services vessel Seahorse Horizon.

Muller said: "We also used the exercise as an opportunity to assess HMAS Yarra and Australian Naval Reserve Diving Team 10 against their required competencies.

"In practice, this involved operating our ships and equipment against some realistic training aids and sophisticated underwater sensors to provide units with in-stride analysis and feedback on their performance."

The present exercise is being held in Hobart, Tasmania.

Image: A sailor from Royal Australian Navy Dive Team Four signals to the surface that he has safely entered the water during diving operations at Exercise Dugong 2015. Photo: courtesy of ABIS Tom Gibson / Commonwealth of Australia.