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Joint military operation to dispose of deadly WWII litter

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Oct. 20, 2011) - The Papua New Guinea Defence Force (PNGDF) and Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) personnel from Australia and New Zealand are in the East New Britain Province to locate and dispose of World War 2 unexploded ordnance on land and in waters off Rabaul under Operation Render Safe 2011.

Unexploded ordnance (UXOs) are explosive weapons (bombs, bullets, shells, grenades, land mines, naval mines, etc.) that did not explode when they were employed and still pose a risk of detonation, even many decades after they were used or discarded.

"The Australian Defence Force (ADF) welcomes the opportunity to contribute to public safety in East New Britain and to help enhance the PNGDF’s EOD capability. The ADF’s recent operation experience in the Middle East means we’re well-placed to impart current best practice on safely handling UXOs to PNGDF’s EOD experts. In turn, PNGDF personnel in each of the four combined ADF-PNGDF-New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) teams will contribute important local knowledge and expertise," Australian Defence Advisor to Papua New Guinea, Colonel Mark Shephard said.

The PNGDF’s involvement in Operation Render Safe 2011 will consist of seven EOD specialists being placed in each of the four ADF-PNGDF-NZDF teams demolishing the UXOs. The PNGDF will also provide escorts for any explosive ordnance being moved between locations.

The operation started with the arrival of HMNZS Resolution, a New Zealand hydrographic survey ship on 15 October to search the ocean floor for UXO. An advance party will establish the operation’s headquarters at Kokopo from 18 October, and from 20 October three more ships will arrive off Rabaul, HMAS Gascoyne, HMAS Diamantina, and HMNZS Wellington (replacing HMNZS Resolution) to participate in the exercise. The recovery and demolition of the UXOs will take place from 24 October until 4 November with the land phase of the work to be carried out by four 6-man teams.

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