Clearance Divers share in salvage tasks with partner nations

Clearance Divers

Royal Canadian Navy divers raise the Canadian flag in the Pacific Ocean waters in a colours ceremony as part of Rim of the Pacific Exercise (RIMPAC) 2022 at Pearl Harbor.

Lt(N) Michelle Scott, 
HMCS Vancouver PAO and 
Capt Jennie Derenzis, 
Combined Information Bureau, 

Part 4 of Canada: A ‘Capable, Adaptive, Partner’ at RIMPAC 2022

The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) played a significant role in 2022’s iteration of the world’s largest maritime exercise, the multi-nation Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC), hosted by the Commander of the United States Pacific Fleet and led by the Commander of U.S. 3rd Fleet biennially. RIMPAC 2022, from June 29 to August 4, returned to a full-scale implementation. It followed a scaled-back RIMPAC 2020 during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Canada’s contribution to RIMPAC 2022 was not only airborne or on the sea, it was also below the surface, where Canadian Port Inspection Divers exercised from both coasts. For the past few weeks, the team has been working with RIMPAC partner nations to support U.S. dive tasks and to share capabilities, tools, and methods to become more effective under water.

Since early July, the Canadian diving team has conducted several underwater salvage projects, including searching for Second World War bomber seaplane parts. Using various methods, including underwater handheld sonar, the Canadian divers have located several plane pieces catalogued by archaeologists. In the coming weeks, the divers will work to build on larger salvage projects with dive teams from Mexico, South Korea, Australia, the Netherlands, and the U.S.

For Master Sailor (MS) Mark Littler, Canadian Clearance Diver, the experience has been like no other.

“All of us do virtually the same jobs at home, using the same kit, but [we] have different experiences. We work in different water types, temperatures, and visibility conditions, but we share very similar responsibilities,” he said.

Whether a frigate or a lone diver, the CAF’s contribution to RIMPAC 2022 is a thing of pride.

“We’ve had a chance to trial the tools and platforms used by other teams and see how partner nations go about a tasking. We’re continually sharing our past experiences and building that camaraderie between the nations,” MS Littler said. “RIMPAC is a great opportunity to learn from each other and bring home new skills and techniques.”

With twenty-six nations, 38 surface ships, four submarines, 30 uncrewed systems, approximately 170 aircraft, and over 25,000 personnel, RIMPAC 2022 provided a unique training opportunity while fostering and sustaining cooperative relationships among participants critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world’s oceans. RIMPAC 2022 is the 28th exercise in the series that began in 1971.

Canada is one of only three nations to have participated in every RIMPAC since its inception.

Clearance Divers

Divers from Mexico, the U.S., Australia, Canada, and the Netherlands train with KM 37 dive systems in Pearl Harbour during Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2022. Photo: Chief Eric Chan, Mass Communication Specialist

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