Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) techniques that have been developed and refined during operations and conflicts around the world are now being put to good use in the Solomon Islands.
EOD specialists from Australia’s Army, Navy and Air Force, along with forces from the United States, Canada and New Zealand have joined together to use skills, share experience and techniques to provide an explosive-free environment for the people of the Solomon Islands.
Operation Render Safe is an enduring Australian-led activity focused on reducing the explosive threat across the Pacific region.
Many areas across the South Pacific are contaminated by the existence of explosive remnants of war, a lethal legacy that remains 68 years after fighting ceased.
Render Safe’s Explosive Ordnance Disposal operators are applying their years of experience to work on reducing the threat to local communities in the Pacific region.
EOD operators deployed to Operation RENDER SAFE have gained their experience in operations and conflicts around the world, including Iraq, Afghanistan, East Timor, Bosnia, Burundi, Somalia, Sudan and a multitude of other conflict zones.
Lieutenant Commander Richard Brickacek, the Commander of Task Group 663.1, responsible to the Task Force Commander for the clearance of ordnance across Guadalcanal, said Operation RENDER SAFE is lucky to have some of the most combat experienced and proficient EOD operators in the world.
“Our operators are now using the skills developed in support of multiple combat operations to focus on the humanitarian task of removal of legacy munitions”.
On top of the combat experience of the operators, a significant component of RENDER SAFE has also been the partnership with the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force EOD unit.
“The opportunity to bring together operators from four nations and partner them with the professionals of the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force EOD unit, acknowledged as one of the best in the region, is invaluable to the task,” Lieutenant Commander Brickacek said
In the first week of clearance operations, Operation Render Safe has cleared 2671 individual pieces of ordnance with a combined explosive weight of nearly 1500 kilograms of TNT.
Operation RENDER SAFE will continue in the Solomon Islands until 7 December.
Press Release, November 20, 2013; Image: Navy