From: Defence Media
Date: Mon 19/09/2016 4:38 PM

Operation Render Safe helps bring safety to the Solomon Islands

The dangers posed by explosive remnants of war in the Solomon Islands will again be tackled with the commencement of Operation Render Safe 16 over the weekend.

The annual ADF-led Operation Render Safe deployment is Australia’s enduring commitment to the removal of unexploded and abandoned World War II munitions, commonly referred to as explosive remnants of war (ERW), which continue to pose a danger to communities in the South West Pacific.

Operation Render Safe 16 is operating until 7 October, 2016, in three primary areas: Honiara (Guadalcanal Island), Tulaghi (Florida Group) and Yandina (Russell Islands).

Some 120 Australian Defence Force personnel are joined by 40 specialists from New Zealand, Canada and the United Kingdom, with the full cooperation of the Solomon Islands Government and in close partnership with the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF).

Australian Contingent Commander, Commander Etienne Mulder said the operational deployment holds special significance for the personnel involved as they are able to contribute to the safety of people.

“Operation Render Safe is an important real-time undertaking that removes the lethal potential of explosive remnants of war,” he said.

“In the Solomon Islands we will achieve this through close cooperation and working side-by-side with RSIPF personnel who possess extensive ERW knowledge and experience.

“We will also be relying heavily on the local communities as they will be the ones with the local knowledge as to the location of ERW.

“Without positive interaction and community support, the mission becomes very difficult.”

Commander Etienne Mulder said ERW disposal goes beyond contributing to a safer environment for communities.

“We also provide the opportunity for potential economic prosperity by enabling families and communities access to more land for food cultivation,” he said.

“The use of mine hunting vessels from Australia, a Diving Support Ship from New Zealand and clearance divers will allow us to undertake more underwater clearances, which in turn contributes to a safer maritime environment for activities like tourism and fishing.”

This year the ADF is contributing the mine hunter vessels HMA Ships Huon and Diamantina, and Explosive Ordnance Disposal Specialists from Navy, Army and Air Force will be supported by health personnel and logistic troops. The Royal Australian Air Force will also provide strategic airlift with a C-130J Hercules transport aircraft.

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