U.S. Navy divers assigned to Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit (MDSU) 2, Company 2-1, concluded a three-week subject matter expert exchange (SMEE) with Panamanian divers, May 3.
The SMEE, which was part of Navy Dive-Southern Partnership Station 2012 (ND-SPS 12), focused on underwater cutting, surface supply diving using the Kirby Morgan (KM) 37 dive helmet, and recompression chamber basics. The two countries also had the unique opportunity to raise a boat that had been intentionally sunk.
“Salvaging the boat was a huge event,” said Navy Diver 2nd Class Tyler Smith. “It gave both countries an opportunity to successfully complete a joint salvage mission.”
Divers from both countries worked together to come up with a plan for raising the boat. The boat was close to shore, so it was out of the water during low tide. This made the project a little easier. They patched five holes in the boat and then pumped out the water that remained inside. Then, they waited for the tide to come in and lift the boat. The next day, they removed the patches and allowed the boat to remain on the bottom.
“These past three weeks have proven that we can work together to accomplish any mission,” said Navy Diver 1st Class Brett Harkey. “There were many obstacles to overcome here, but we pushed through all of them.”
U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command and U.S. 4th Fleet (COMUSNAVSO/C4F) support U.S. Southern Command joint and combined full-spectrum military operations by providing principally sea-based, forward presence to ensure freedom of maneuver in the maritime domain, to foster and sustain cooperative relationships with international partners and to fully exploit the sea as maneuver space in order to enhance regional security and promote peace, stability, and prosperity in the Caribbean, Central and South American regions.
Naval Today Staff , May 09, 2012; Image: (MDSU) 2