Thursday, February 4, 2010

SSC Pacific Assists with WWII Mine Removal

U.S. Navy personnel from Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit One (EODMU ONE) and SSC Pacific participated in Lagoon Mine Exercise 2009 (MINEX 09) in New Caledonia, November 8-20, 2009. The operation sought to remove defensive mines laid in the New Caledonia Lagoon by Australian forces during World War II. Almost 2,000 mines were used to protect thousands of U.S. troops on the island against predicted enemy attack and to prevent enemy access to New Caledonian ports.

SSC Pacific and EOD MU1 traveled to New Caledonia participate in Lagoon MINEX 2009DoD photo by U.S. Air Force Tech Sgt. Cohen A. Young

In 1944, the U.S. conducted mechanical sweeping clearance operations, and most of the mines that surfaced were shot and destroyed. However, some did not explode and sank to the ocean floor where they remain today.

SSC Pacific personnel assisted the very shallow water mine counter measures company of EODMU ONE in deploying four mine-hunting dolphins from San Diego to New Caledonia to participate in this multi-national effort involving personnel and equipment from the U.S., New Zealand, Australia and France, which currently administers the island.

Divers investigating a mine at the bottom of the New Caledonia Lagoon.

Although the mines are not a threat to surface navigation, the main objective of Lagoon MINEX 09 was to clear mines located under the main seaways between Noumea and its access channels, giving close attention to the need to preserve the underwater environment.

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