Clearance divers head to Caribbean

Divers cutting ropes
Caribbean divers cut ropes while executing a bottom cleanup during Exercise TRADEWINDS 16 in Discovery Bay, Jamaica on June 25, 2016. Photo: Sgt Yannick Bédard, Canadian Forces Combat Camera. IS01-2016-0003-109

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By Peter Mallett

Two diving personnel from Fleet Diving Unit (Pacific) are heading to the Caribbean at the end of May to take part in international military diving exercises off the waters of Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago.

Divers will deploy May 27 for the 2017 edition of Exercise TRADEWINDS. They will rendezvous with 10 personnel from Fleet Diving Unit (Atlantic) (FDU(A)) and administration staff for the exercise that runs June 6 to 11 in Barbados, and then moves to the island of Trinidad and Tobago for June 12 to 17.

Canadian divers and instructors will share skills related to search and rescue, counter terrorism and ways to disrupt drug smugglers, with military divers from the Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago defence forces.

Lt(N) Greg Richards, Training Officer at FDU(A), who has been planning and coordinating the exercise for the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN), says TRADEWINDS is designed to promote regional security and cooperation in the Caribbean.

“Participation in this training mission provides an excellent opportunity to foster interoperability amongst international dive teams while enhancing their capability,” he adds.

The team of RCN divers, dive instructors and medical support staff will be joined by personnel from the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation and U.S. Southern Command.

Military divers from the host countries will be trained in sunken vessel assessment, evidence and human remains recovery, search patterns, jetty and hull searches, and identifying foreign objects such as mines and explosives.

TRADEWINDS has been held yearly since the creation of the Canadian-U.S. Caribbean Defence Cooperation framework in June 2013, and an engagement strategy in July 2012.

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