International mine countermeasure drill kicks off in Australia

An international mine countermeasure exercise got underway on Australia’s New South Wales south coast at Royal Australian Navy (RAN) base HMAS Creswell on May 7.

Illustration; Photo: Royal Australian Navy

The biennial Western Pacific Naval Symposium (WPNS) Mine Countermeasures and Diving Exercise (MCM DIVEX) is set to conclude after two weeks of operations on May 18.

MCM DIVEX 18 will focus on a wide array of activities including the deployment of mine countermeasures divers, autonomous underwater vehicles, live demolitions and mine exploitation activities.

Commander of Australian Mine Warfare and Clearance Diving Squadron, Commander Brett Dawe, said teams from 18 nations will spend the fortnight learning from each other’s experiences.

“Each nation taking part in the exercise relies heavily on our Sea Lines of Communication for trade and crucial supplies,” Commander Dawe said.

‘’Safeguarding these critical trade routes against the threat posed by sea mines is the primary focus for all forces involved in this exercise.”

“Our guests from the Pacific region and beyond will also bring with them experiences and technology we can all learn from.”

The WPNS was founded in 1988 and currently has 21 member nations and six observer nations. The forum gives regional navies a platform to discuss a broad range of regional security issues and progress measures to improve cooperation and interoperability.