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Multinational team diffuses bombs in East New Britain

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Nov. 3, 2011) – A New Zealand naval commander says military personnel from New Zealand, Australia and Papua New Guinea have helped make Rabaul in East New Britain a safer place.

In a two week long operation more than 150 personnel have helped to safely dispose of a range of World War Two ordnance including unexploded bombs, shells, mortars, grenades and torpedoes.

The operation also involved the local community who helped locate the ordnance, while an awareness campaign on the dangers the old munitions pose was also conducted.

The commanding officer of HMNZS Wellington, Martin Doolan, says the support from the local community was a key factor in the success of the operation.

[PIR editor’s note: Operation Render Safe 2011, as the multilateral disposal project is called, utilized expert knowledge in ordnance disposal with local police and community knowledge of the landscape. Initially, a New Zealand hydrographic ship surveyed the coastal floor on October 15, and as headquarters for the project were established in Kokopo around October 18, three Australian ships arrived also to take part in recovering the UXOs.]

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