Home' Navy News : November 22nd 2012 Contents 03
November 22, 2012
LEUT Kelli Lunt
NAVY mine warfare and clearance
diving personnel combined with
HMAS Anzac to participate in the
world's first international mine coun-
ter measures exercise (IMCMEX) in
the Middle East.
Personnel from more than 30
nations participated in the exercise in
The exercise aimed to develop tac-
tical level proficiency and improve
interoperability between nations in
mine counter measure operations.
Four personnel from the Mine
Warfare and Clearance Diving task
group were appointed to key staff
positions within the Royal Navy's
Mine Warfare Battle Staff embarked
in the Royal Fleet Auxiliary Cardigan
Bay -- a former sister ship to HMAS
LSMW Damien Baum, who was
responsible for maintaining the com-
prehensive underwater picture, said to
be part of the first exercise combining
so many nations was a great experi-
"As a mine warfare sailor, to use
my professional skills while embed-
ded on a coalition vessel and operat-
ing with so many partner nations was
a rare opportunity," he said.
"Learning about their procedures
with the added difficulty of informa-
tion and data exchange across a vari-
ety of systems was challenging, but it
will mean that if we are to work with
these nations on future tasking it will
be that much easier."
Commander Mine Warfare and
Clearance Diving Task Group CMDR
Doug Griffiths said the exercise
allowed Navy to challenge its capa-
bilities in an area outside of the Asia
Pacific region while building on the
skills learned at RIMPAC.
"The RAN mine warfare and
clearance diving community had a
unique opportunity to operate with a
large collection of nations on the larg-
est of world stages during IMCMEX,
and benchmark our own abilities as
a command staff," CMDR Griffiths
"IMCMEX brought together
almost double the nations involved in
RIMPAC, all focused on safeguarding
the freedom of navigation across the
global commons to enable the flow of
The exercise incorporated a sym-
posium, detailed harbour phase and a
sea tactical phase spanning three areas
throughout the Middle East.
This included the Central Arabian
Gulf to the north of Bahrain, to the
southern area off the coast of the
United Arab Emirates and in the Gulf
of Oman as well as to the western area
of the Djibouti coast.
"The coming together of dedicat-
ed, like-minded nations for the pur-
pose of proving systems and process-
es to ensure freedom of navigation
and global trade proved highly suc-
cessful," CMDR Griffiths said.
group a world first
OUT IN FORCE: RFA Cardigan Bay,
HMS Diamond, HMS Shoreham,
USS Sentry, USS Dexterous and
USS Devastator during the tactical
phase of the exercise.
Photo: Royal Navy
LEUT Kelli Lunt
LCDR Al Byrne has seen his fair
share of the world during his career,
but didn't think he would ever be
living on a Turkish ship deterring
Currently based in the Turkish
frigate TCG Gemlik operating
around the Gulf of Aden, the Red
Sea and the Horn of Africa, LCDR
Byrne is the air operations coordina-
tor for the multinational CTF 151,
responsible for countering piracy on
the high seas.
Usually based at HMAS
Albatross, LCDR Byrne shares his
30 years of air operations experi-
ence with the 19-strong multina-
tional staff and wider task force of
ships from nations including Turkey,
Singapore and Republic of Korea.
CTF 151's mission is to pro-
tect the maritime community from
piracy, which has been a significant
problem in these waters for sever-
al years, with numerous large and
small ships taken and their crews
and cargoes held for ransom, often
for extended periods.
"Our coalition of nations oper-
ates numerous long-range patrol
aircraft flying from a number of
air bases throughout the region, as
operations from the air
well as a substantial number of ship-
borne helicopters and unmanned
aerial vehicles," LCDR Byrne said.
"My job is to help ensure that
those aircraft provide the best pos-
sible watch over the most appropri-
"We cover the primary trade
route between Europe and Asia so
there's lots of ocean to cover, and
lots of ships to protect.
LCDR Byrne said the multina-
tional team worked well together.
"I've been wonderfully surprised
at how easily we've come together
as a team," he said.
"The job we're doing is one that
navies around the world have been
doing for centuries -- protecting sea-
farers from pirates -- so we share a
LCDR Byrne will support the
mission until mid-December, when
the command is passed over to the
For a feature on piracy and maritime
trade operations see page 19.
MAKING FRIENDS: LCDR Al Byrne chats to First Pilot LCDR Aytac
Basaran (left) and Second Pilot LEUT Junior Grade Ibrahim Gurdal,
of the Turkish Navy, on board TCG Gemlik.
AUSTRALIA will host Spanish
Armada Ship SPS Cantabria from
mid-February until November 2013.
CN VADM Ray Griggs signed the
project arrangement this month and
said it would provide a unique oppor-
tunity for both navies and strengthen
the bilateral relationship between
Spain and Australia.
"The deployment as well as provid-
ing important training and capability
assessment outcomes for both the
Spanish Armada and the RAN is the
way navies will operate in the future,"
"Navies have traditionally con-
ducted mutually beneficial activities
with each other's nations so this is just
Defence Materiel Minister Jason
Clare said many of Cantabria's ship
systems were similar to the new LHDs
"This arrangement will provide
an opportunity for Navy personnel to
train and familiarise themselves with
Cantabria before they go on to crew
the LHD and AWD," Mr Clare said.
Cantabria will assist HMA Ships
Success and Sirius in providing sup-
port during domestic and international
training and exercises.
Cantabria is a modern auxiliary oil
replenishment ship, similar to Success,
which is capable of supplying fuel,
food, stores and ammunition to ships
This will be the longest deployment
undertaken by Cantabria and will
allow the Spanish Armada to trial the
ship's full range of capabilities includ-
ing the operating/maintenance cycle
of the ship's systems, and the logistics
and maintenance support mechanisms
for the ship.
Cantabria will also participate
in the Australian International Fleet
Review in October 2013.
as Spain gets
set to visit
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