RCN divers participate in Korean-led exercise

Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) sailors are participating in mine countermeasure (MCM) training CLEAR HORIZON 16 in the Republic of Korea from October 16 to 23, 2016.

CLEAR HORIZON 16 is a multi-national mine warfare exercise led by the Republic of Korea Navy taking place in Busan and Chinhae, Korea, and the surrounding coastal waters. Sixteen members from Fleet Diving Unit (Pacific) and Naval Personnel Readiness will participate in information-sharing and mentorship activities with divers from the navies of the Republic of Korea, United States, Philippines, and Thailand. During the exercise they will conduct MCM training such as explosive ordinance disposal (EOD), underwater detonation, and pouncer operations (deployment of a diver from a helicopter to the water).

"Fleet Diving Unit (Pacific)’s participation in CLEAR HORIZON 16 will develop operational readiness and enhance contributions to international peace, security, and stability," Rear-Admiral Art McDonald, Commander, Maritime Forces Pacific. "Opportunities such as CLEAR HORIZON 16 increase the Royal Canadian Navy’s interoperability with Asia-Pacific allies while building upon Canada’s long-standing relationships with our international partners."

CLEAR HORIZON 16 is an opportunity for the RCN to exchange information and lessons-learned from previous operations with our Pacific allies in order to fine-tune joint responses to international emergencies.

As part of CLEAR HORIZON 16, three members of Fleet Diving Unit (Pacific), (FDU (P), will also attend a mine countermeasures symposium in Seoul, Korea from October 11 to15, 2016 to begin informative discussions which will continue during the operational phase of the exercise.

The primary mission of FDU (P) is to provide and maintain assigned warfare, seabed intervention, and training capability. Underwater dive operations are accomplished using the Canadian Clearance Diver Apparatus — a Canadian-designed re-breather specific to MCM operations. Other equipment to be used during CLEAR HORIZON 16 includes the Shark Marine underwater navigator which can be used for detecting objects on the seabed floor and guide the diver to targets in environments with limited or zero visibility.

Canada and the Republic of Korea have a longstanding, friendly relationship dating back to Canada’s participation in the Korean War. Canadian Armed Forces members are proud to contribute to United Nations Command and participate in CLEAR HORIZON 16. Canada’s defence relationship with the Republic of Korea further contributes to Canada’s close and friendly political and commercial relationship with the country. Canada remains committed to contributing to peace and stability in the Korean Peninsula. Participation in CLEAR HORIZON 16 shows our ongoing commitment to our partner navies in the Western Pacific.

Operations in the Asia-Pacific are crucial in establishing and developing the Royal Canadian Navy’s relationships with like-minded nations, including Korea. CLEAR HORIZON 16 reinforces the strategic importance of the Asia-Pacific region to Canada, of increasing international awareness in the area, and of operating alongside partner navies.

Considerations for the safety of all Canadian Armed Forces personnel, including those deployed to CLEAR HORIZON 16, are at the forefront of our military planning and decision making processes.