Operation RENDER SAFE delivers
28 November 2013
Operation RENDER SAFE 2013 is winding up in the Solomon Islands having provided a much safer physical environment for local people.
At the same time Operation RENDER SAFE has allowed ADF Explosive Ordnance Disposal technicians to sharpen their skills.
Over the three-week main phase of the operation about 10,000 unexploded remnants of war were located and either destroyed or made safe by the multi-nation RENDER SAFE Combined Joint Task Force 663.
These items were found near villages, airport runways, beaches, coastal waters and community vegetable gardens. The removal of these items has allowed these areas to be safely returned to community use.
It is both the chance to test their skills and the community benefits these skills can deliver that has been rewarding for the members of Operation RENDER SAFE.
For Seaman Marine Technician Luke Ellemor, fresh out of his initial training and busy filling in his competency log, Operation RENDER SAFE has presented opportunities to do things he would never have imagined doing only a year ago.
Deployed to sea for the first time aboard HMAS Tarakan, Seaman Ellemor has filled in as a watch-keeper in the main operations room, launched zodiacs off an idyllic tropical beach and helped rebuild a school on a remote island. He has also gone out into the jungle with a Canadian Navy Explosive Ordinance Disposal team in search of unexploded remnants of war. For Seaman Ellemor the best part was working directly with the local community.
“Once we finished the work on the school, the look on the kids faces when they saw their new classrooms was worth all the work in the heat; they were just so happy to see what we had done,” Seaman Ellemor said.
Over the first three weeks of the operation the 10,000 unexploded remnants of war items made safe on land and at sea were equivalent to a year’s work for Solomon Islands’ own Explosive Ordinance Disposal teams.
More than 20 square kilometres of ocean, including the beach areas around Honiara were surveyed by REMUS Underwater Autonomous Vehicle operators and HMAS Diamantina. These marine areas were then cleared by multinational Explosive Ordinance Disposal.
The operation relied heavily on support from local communities in locating unexploded remnants of war. As part of the operation’s community engagement activities three local schools were renovated as well as the domestic violence victim’s shelter.
Operation RENDER SAFE is an enduring ADF-led explosive ordnance disposal mission which is being conducted this year in Solomon Islands. The operation consists of a Combined Joint Task Force of nearly 200 explosive ordnance disposal specialists and support staff from the ADF, New Zealand Defence Force, Canadian Armed Forces, the United States Navy and Royal Solomon Islands Police Force.
Operation RENDER SAFE 2013 will continue in Solomon Islands until 7 December.