Navy’s premier international mine counter-measure exercise ended with a bang at Fleet Base West, Rockingham, in Western Australia in late November.

Exercise Dugong, which included navies from the United States, United Kingdom, Canada and New Zealand, plays a major role in enhancing interoperability between participating nations in all facets of maritime mine warfare.

The exercise provided a unique opportunity for members of Australia’s Navy to work closely with international partners to develop skills in areas such as water space management and mine counter-measures.

Commanding Officer of Clearance Diving Team Four, Lieutenant Commander Ryan Post, said Exercise Dugong was a very successful exercise with all participating nations benefiting greatly from it.

“Dugong provides very shallow water mine counter-measure training, using both autonomous vehicles and clearance divers from participating nations,” Lieutenant Commander Post said.

“By bringing in our coalition partners we can work on our integration and improve how we operate together in the area of very shallow water mine counter-measures.”

“This is important because in any mine counter-measure operation we would not be working on our own, but as an international team.”

Royal Canadian Navy Diving Officer Lieutenant Slava Khabiam said participating nations welcomed the chance to exchange various operational techniques with their coalition partners.

“Canada has been participating in Dugong for the past few years and the exercise is very beneficial for our team as it allows us to develop our ability to integrate into an international environment,” Lieutenant Khabiam said.

“This is important because in any mine counter-measure operation we would not be working on our own, but as an international team.

“Dugong 19 was a great success, with plenty of dive time and was very beneficial to all involved.”

First conducted in 1988, this was the 18th iteration of the exercise.