Republic of Korea Ship (ROKS) Won San has rolled out the red carpet for Royal Australian Navy sailors during the Western Pacific Naval Symposium (WPNS) Mine Counter Measures and Diving Exercise 2014 (MCMEX 14) in New Zealand.
Members of the Australian MCM Diving Detachment, drawn from HMAS Diamantina and Clearance Dive Team One, and a Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN) Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) team, spent a night onboard minelayer Won San during the final week of the exercise.
The teams were on mission to recover a body lost at sea – a realistic scenario in the exercise’s fictitious earthquake and tsunami ravaged Barclay Islands.
The sailors were given a reception normally reserved for conquering heroes, with delicious traditional Korean food laid out and plenty of new friends made.
Leading Seaman (LS) Medic (Underwater) Ben Catterall said the overnight stay was one of his highlights for the exercise.
“Their generosity was amazing and they treated us like royalty,” said LS Catterall.
In between the hospitality and cultural exchanges, the RNZN AUV team succeeded in discovering the body, before the Australian Divers jumped in to investigate.
Earlier in the exercise, HMAS Gascoyne rafted up to Won San for an afternoon of sport and cultural exchange.
The three week MCMEX 14 involves over 600 participants from 14 nations, as well as five Naval Vessels from New Zealand, Australia and Korea.
Press Release, March 10, 2014, Image: Australian Navy