The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) will be helping the Solomon Islands dispose of the deadly threat posed by unexploded World War II-era munitions.
Major General (MAJGEN) Tim Gall, the Commander Joint Forces New Zealand, said the Royal New Zealand Navy’s diving and mine countermeasures support ship HMNZS MANAWANUI and an explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) expert from the New Zealand Army would support an Australian-led operation to clear sites near the capital Honiara and in the nearby Russell and Florida island groups.
“Explosive remnants of war pose a potentially deadly threat to local communities. The NZDF is making a significant contribution to the safety of the people in the Solomon Islands through its involvement in this operation,” MAJGEN Gall said.
Operation RENDER SAFE 2016 is a biennial operation led by the Australian Defence Force, which aims to safely dispose of unexploded World War II-vintage munitions. EOD experts from Canada, the United Kingdom and the Solomon Islands are also assisting in the operation.
A similar operation in 2014 cleared 109 sites on the Papua New Guinea island of Bougainville of 2293 ammunition items containing more than 16 tonnes of explosives. It involved more than 500 personnel from Australia, the United States, the UK, New Zealand, Canada and the Solomon Islands.
MANAWANUI left New Zealand earlier this week to take part in the multinational operation, which will run from 15 September-10 October.