The Parliamentary Secretary for Defence, Senator David Feeney, today congratulated more than 150 personnel from the Australian, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea Defence Forces for a job well done on Operation RENDER SAFE in Papua New Guinea.
At the conclusion of this phase of the ADF’s enduring peace-time mission to find, identify and render safe World War II munitions in the South Pacific, Senator Feeney announced that more than two thousand individual items with a net explosive quantity in excess of five tonnes had been removed and disposed of from areas near the local East New Britain populations.
“Besides the sterling effort around Rabaul and Kokopo, Australian Navy and RAAF bomb disposal experts disposed of dangerous ordnance near two sites close to the Kokoda Track,” Senator Feeney said.
At the request of the Kokoda Track Authority, bombs near Myola and Owers corner were disposed of, ensuring the safety of many trekkers who walk the historic journey.
Senator Feeney said that the effort, which encompassed land based and sea operations, was also rewarded by the discovery of a previously unchartered World War II wreck, thought to be a Japanese submarine, in Simpson Harbour.
“The efforts of HMA Ships Gascoyne and Diamantina, as well as HMNZ Ships Resolution and Wellington were crucial to the success of RENDER SAFE 2011,” Senator Feeney said.
“The successful outcome of this operation has resulted in a much safer environment for all the communities who have been living with the unexploded ordnance.”
Although the ADF has historically conducted explosive ordnance disposal in the South Pacific, including Kiribati and the Marshall Islands, Operation RENDER SAFE is the first operation of its type.
Lorna Clarke – 0408 345 730
Defence Media Operations – (02) 6127 1999