Clearance divers from CFB Esquimalt took a dip in the temperate waters off Denmark last month as part of ongoing global relationship development.
Six clearance divers took part in Danish Exercise Northern Coast 2012 (DANEX/NOCO), a multinational exercise that focused on international operational cooperation.
“From an operational stand point, it gave us a chance to see how the other teams work,” says Lt(N) Demetris Mousouliotis, team leader for the CFB Esquimalt clearance divers. “They’re used to very different environments than we are. They have adapted, and we can learn from those adaptations.”
Dive teams arrived in Frederikshavn on Denmark’s northern coast before heading to the harbour town of Hevring for the first phase of the exercise, and then on to Slipshavn for the operational phase.
“For both exercises we were tasked with clearing a pier of IEDs [Improvised Explosive Device] and a harbour of underwater mines,” says Lt(N) Mousouliotis. “We used Vanguard Robotic Assessment equipment to inspect potential IEDs and secure the pier. A lot of our equipment, like the hook and line kits, are to ensure we can keep personnel as far from the explosive as possible.”
After securing the pier, the team took to the water. Clad in Canadian Clearance Diving Apparatus re-breathers, they first skimmed the surface before diving for underwater mines.
During the exercise, Canadian dive teams were able to observe the Danish, American, and Latvian teams.
“I learned that our procedures are more or less the same, especially when it comes to diving,” says Lt(N) Mousousliotis. “The details are where we differ. Every team has little tips and tricks that come from working in different environments. The Danish are masters of that environment so they’re used to it. The Latvians don’t use a lot of equipment but their basic procedures are rock solid. I’d never seen the Americans work, but they’re almost like you see them in the movies. It’s a lot of gung ho enthusiasm and skill.”
In the end DANEX/NOCO brought together teams from different countries, and gave them a chance to learn what it’s like to work on the world stage.
“There are a lot of things that you can’t get when you’re working in your home port,” says Lt(N) Mousouliotis. “You don’t get the challenge you do when it’s international. You have to work with the language barrier, or difference in protocol or equipment. To have those challenges and be able to overcome them is an invaluable experience to the members of our team.”
Shawn O’Hara, Staff Writer
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