Regional Mine Warfare teams unite to secure regional trade

This article has photo gallery Published on Department of Defence (author), LSIS Justin Brown (photographer)

Location(s): HMAS Creswell, NSW

Topic(s): HMAS Creswell, Mine Countermeasures, Western Pacific Naval Symposium (WPNS), Mine Countermeasures and Diving Exercise (MCM DIVEX)

RAN Clearance Divers bring a patient ashore during a medevac training exercise as part of the Western Pacific Naval Symposium Mine Countermeasures and Diving Exercise (MCM DIVEX). The event, involving 18 nations, is being held at HMAS Creswell from 7-18 May. (photo: LSIS Justin Brown)
RAN Clearance Divers bring a patient ashore during a medevac training exercise as part of the Western Pacific Naval Symposium Mine Countermeasures and Diving Exercise (MCM DIVEX). The event, involving 18 nations, is being held at HMAS Creswell from 7-18 May.

The risk posed by sea mines is a key focus at this year’s Western Pacific Naval Symposium (WPNS) Mine Countermeasures and Diving Exercise (MCM DIVEX), hosted by the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) on the New South Wales south coast.

MCM DIVEX is hosted by a WPNS member every two years. This year’s exercise is being held at HMAS Creswell.

Commander of Australian Mine Warfare and Clearance Diving Squadron, Commander Brett Dawe, said teams from 18 nations are spending a 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.”

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. 

“The RAN’s Mine Warfare and Clearance Diver personnel are highly trained and respected for their professionalism and broad skill set,” Commander Dawe said.

“Our guests from the Pacific region and beyond 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. 

The RAN will work in close consultation with other government agencies during the exercise to ensure no damage is caused to the Jervis Bay environment.