HMAS Gascoyne, part of a Minehunter Task Group, has spent a busy two weeks far from her usual stomping ground in Eastern Australia, having travelled over 5000 nautical miles in company with sister ship HMAS Diamantina, to participate in a Multinational Mine Warfare Exercise (MIWEX 19) in the Republic of Korea.
Following the MIWEX 19 Symposium in Busan, Gascoyne joined Diamantina for five days of mine hunting in some of the most challenging environments that Australian mine warfare assets have worked in.
During the sea phase of MIWEX 19, Gascoyne investigated and cleared an area the size of 3200 football fields and steamed in excess of 100 nautical miles in exercise waters.
By the end of the exercise, Gascoyne had found and counter-mined two ground anti-ship sea mines laid to prevent friendly forces sea access.
Mine clearance was conducted utilising the embarked Double Eagle submersible Mine Disposal Vehicle and Mine Disposal Charges.
All this in a busy waterway filled with mine-like seabed sonar contacts further complicated the tactical environment.
The Commanding Officer of Gascoyne, Lieutenant Commander Sean Aitken was proud of the ship and crew’s achievements during the exercise.
“Gascoyne has thoroughly demonstrated her prowess in the exercise by completely clearing her assigned area,” he said.
Many of the underwater contacts varied from discarded fishing equipment, to industrial batteries, oil drums and organic mine-like contacts.
Gascoyne found both mine shapes in the area as well as a third shape from previous exercises and two buoyant mine sinkers.
“We achieved directed level of clearance, conducted 36 vehicle runs on 72 underwater contacts,” Lieutenant Commander Aitken said.
The minehunters Diamantina and Gascoyne, joined by a Command Task Group, have taken part in the Multinational Mine Countermeasure Symposium and MIWEX 19 in Korea as part of a four-month North East Asian Deployment.