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Every Man And A Dog Searching For Explosive Remnants In South Pacific

HMNZS MANAWANUI in Auckland Harbour.

HMNZS MANAWANUI in Auckland Harbour.

31 May 2013

HMNZ Ships WELLINGTON and MANAWANUI and NZ Defence Force staff will leave the cold weather behind them when they deploy to the tropical climates of Solomon Islands and Kiribati, on an operation that will locate and dispose of explosive remnants left over from World War II.

Operation Pukaurua is a multinational explosive ordnance disposal operation involving personnel from Australia, France, Kiribati, New Zealand, Solomon Islands, and the United States.

Highly trained NZ Defence Force personnel will use specialist equipment to assist the island nations to locate and dispose of explosive remnants of war (ERW) and create a safer regional environment.

"The effect of the remaining unexploded ordnance from World War II has a considerable impact on the local infrastructure and economics of the communities in the Pacific," said Lieutenant Commander Trevor Leslie, Commanding Officer of the Royal New Zealand Navy Operational Dive Team.

"The NZ Defence Force makes a valuable commitment to assist local communities in reducing this threat."

HMNZ Ships WELLINGTON and MANAWANUI will be working alongside staff from the Navy’s Operational Dive Team and the NZDF Explosive Ordnance Disposal Squadron.

"Our teams will be utilising a variety of specialist equipment to search and locate the remnants, including metal detectors, underwater sonar equipment, and a NZ Army Explosive Detection Dog," said Lieutenant Commander Leslie.

Specialist dive vessel, HMNZS MANAWANUI, sails from Devonport Naval Base on Sunday 2 June 2013. Offshore Patrol Vessel HMNZS WELLINGTON will follow, sailing Wednesday 5 June 2013.

ENDS

For further information or requests for interviews, please contact Lieutenant Commander Vicki Rendall, 021 244 0638.

Background

  • NZDF people and RNZN ships deploy throughout the Pacific region, and further afield, to support regional peace and security.

  • WELLINGTON and MANAWANUI are versatile vessels capable of multiagency and multilateral operations and supporting regional security tasks. WELLINGTON is capable of long range maritime patrols and surveillance in the South Pacific. MANAWANUI is the Navy’s specialist dive vessel, supporting littoral ops. Navy’s extensive maritime underwater search and recovery capability includes dive, survey and mine counter measures.
  • The principal role of Explosive Ordnance Disposal is to render safe all explosive ordnance, including improvised explosives and chemical, biological and radiological explosive devices, found in New Zealand above the waterline and offshore where NZ forces are operating.

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