Duty done in Solomon Islands

This article has photo gallery Published on SBLT Mitchell Hosking (author), Unknown (photographer)

Location(s): Solomon Islands

Explosive remnants of World War II having been transported and ready to be cleared. (photo: Unknown)
Explosive remnants of World War II having been transported and ready to be cleared.

Clearance divers onboard HMAS Huon joined with their international counterparts to dispose of more than 2,500 pieces of unexploded ordnance during a month-long deployment to the Solomon Islands.

Divers blew up one United States M101 155mm, one Japanese Type 91 105mm and eight United States M59 37mm high explosive rounds during underwater controlled disposal in the vicinity of Russell Islands.

Commanding Officer Huon, Lieutenant Commander Jason Mullen, said the disposal had "directly contributed to the safety of the local communities and most likely saved lives."

"Huon's crew has conducted themselves in a truly professional and safe manner and they should feel proud of what they have achieved here," he said.

Able Seaman Clearance Diver Matthew Ryan was part of the team that transported the explosives to the detonation site. He laid the charges to clear the ordnance.

Able Seaman Ryan said the work in the Solomons was why he joined the Royal Australian Navy.

"It is exciting, challenging and very rewarding work," he said. "You are exhausted at the end of every day but it is worth it because you know you have made a difference."

Military personnel from New Zealand, Canada and Great Britain visit South West Pacific nations to remove explosives left from the Second World War.

Australian minehunters, HMA Ships Huon and Diamantina represented Australia and used intelligence provided by local police and communities to locate ordnance.

Divers carry out a range of challenging underwater duties, including demolitions, explosives disposal and mine counter-measures.

They also carry out underwater repairs and maintenance.