Divers depart for Korea

Divers depart for Korea

Peter Mallett, Staff Writer ~

Sixteen members of Fleet Diving Unit Pacific (FDU(P)) will represent the Canadian Armed Forces at Operation Clear Horizon 16 in the Republic of Korea this week.

The Oct. 11 to 23 multi-national training mission is the first exercise of its kind led by South Korea, and is focussed on mine countermeasure operations. It also will highlight Canada’s ongoing efforts to contribute to peace and stability in Northeast Asia.

Divers and ships from the United States, Philippines, Thailand, Australia and New Zealand will also participate.

A key part of the Fleet Diving Unit team’s efforts will be to provide other participating nations with mine countermeasure training such as explosive ordnance disposal, underwater detonation and pouncer operations, which involves the deployment of divers from helicopters into the sea.

“It’s really an opportunity to work jointly, and collaborate with other participating nations on what types of equipment and technology they use. It is also an opportunity to show them how we work with ours,” said CPO2 Alex MacNeish a clearance diver and FDU(P)’s Operations Chief.

During the 12-day exercise, FDU (P) divers will employ the use of two made-in-Canada high tech gadgets: the Shark Marine and Canadian Clearance Diver Apparatus re-breather used specifically for mine countermeasure operations.

“Essentially it’s an under-water breather designed for the military to work in an environment that may have underwater mines,” explained CPO2 MacNeish. “The idea behind the technology is for divers to move more silently and quietly through the water by reducing sound. It also gives off a low-magnetic acoustic signature that is safer for the diver in these situations.”

The Shark Marine underwater navigator is a hand-held electronic device used by divers to detect objects on the seabed floor. It aids divers in an underwater environment with limited visibility.

During the opening days of Clear Horizon 2016 three members of FDU(P) will attend a Mine Countermeasures Symposium in Seoul, Oct. 11 to 15, to begin the dialogue that will continue during the operational phase of the exercise.

It’s been a busy year for Esquimalt’s FDU (P), who have also participated in other operations around the world including Operation Nanook (Yukon), Operation Unifier (Ukraine), RIMPAC, Operation Render Safe (Solomon Islands), and other training and mine countermeasure operations in cooperation with global allies at home and abroad.

Following their trip to Asia, members of the unit will take part in Operation Taz Tornado, a conventional munitions disposal exercise that will take place in Cold Lake, Alta.

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