Members of an Australian led multi-nation Task Force in Solomon Islands as part of Operation RENDER SAFE 2013 were welcomed to the country last week by the Australian High Commissioner to the Solomon Islands, Mr Matt Anderson.
Operation RENDER SAFE is an ongoing Australian-led operation to safely dispose of large amounts of explosive remnants of war, or ERW, which are a legacy of the World War II across the Pacific region.
In formal introductory briefings at the Task Force headquarters in Honiara, members of the Task Force, known as Combined Joint Task Force 663, (CJTF663) heard that the local Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) were some of the most skilled Explosive Ordnance Disposal technicians in the region but Operation RENDER SAFE was an important supplement to the local effort.
Commander Joint Task Force 663, Commander Doug Griffiths RAN, told Task Force members that the RSIPF were known as the “gold standard” of Explosive Ordnance Disposal across the South West Pacific region.
“We will be working with some of the best in the region, people who have grown up living with the threat of explosive remnants of war, but we will also be giving them an important boost in their capacity to make a dent in the huge amount of unexploded ordnance around the national capital and in some of the outlying islands,” said Commander Griffiths.
Australian High Commissioner to the Solomon Islands, Mr Matt Anderson told members of the Task Force that their contribution was an important contribution to the local economy and community.
“You are going to make a real difference working with some extraordinary people,” he told the Task Force.
“You are returning to the Solomon Islanders land that they can use to grow produce, to create businesses, to educate their kids and to change their lives,” concluded Mr Anderson.
Operation RENDER SAFE includes personnel from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United States and Solomon Islands. The Operation will move into the main phase of its tasking commencing on 8 November and concludes on 7 December 2013.
Press Release, November 11, 2013; Image: RAN