The Australian Defence Force has completed a request from the Vanuatu Government to dispose of unexploded ordnance from two separate localities as part of Operation RENDER SAFE.
The ADF deployed a RAAF C-130J with an explosive ordnance disposal team and medical specialists from 24 to 27 August to complete the tasks in coordination with members of the Vanuatu Police and Vanuatu Mobile Force.
Acting Chief of Joint Operations, Major General Shane Caughey, said the Royal Australian Air Force 65 Squadron Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Flight disposed of 33 remnants of World War II on Santos Island.
“Operation RENDER SAFE is the ADF’s enduring commitment to the removal of Explosive Remnants of War which continue to pose a potential danger to communities across the South West Pacific,” MAJGEN Caughey said.
“The items included 27 explosive items, six non-explosive and other small arms remnants.
“One of the items was a World War II 500-pound bomb which posed an ongoing safety risk if not removed.
“These tasks, completed in coordination with the Vanuatu Police and Vanuatu Military Force have removed explosive remnants of war that remain a real danger to communities in the South West Pacific – even now 70 years after the end of World War II.”
In recognition of the unknown quantities of Unexploded Ordnance (UXO) throughout the SW Pacific region, the ADF will continue to conduct surveys to identify, prioritise and dispose of UXO.
The removal of UXO provides improved safety for the local population through the elimination of risks from unstable and unsafe explosives.
Operation RENDER SAFE activities contribute to Pacific Island consequence management plans by removing maritime threats which allow ships to maintain passage through navigable waters assists pacific nations through EOD training initiatives to develop UXO awareness and to support these nations to develop their own independent EOD capabilities.
Imagery is available at: http://images.defence.gov.au/S20152365
Vision will be fed to the Parliamentary Press Gallery later today.
Defence Media Operations (02) 6127 1999