The diving skills of regional army personnel will be sharpened as a result of intensive advanced training by the Fleet Diving Unit, Atlantic, out of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

According to Chief Petty Officer 2nd Class, Andrew Tiffin of the Unit, the training, as part of Exercise Tradewinds 2012, was designed to expose the participants drawn from countries such as Dominica, Suriname, St. Kitts and St. Lucia, to the diving gear used by the members of the Unit and its proper usage.

Apart from the opportunity for divers to be exposed to working together in a joint or combined operation, he said the officers were also taught how to manoeuvre in contaminated waters.

"Contaminated water is an issue for any diver going underwater.?? For instance, you may have a tanker that is leaking and in such an instance, you will have to get in there and render some sort of assistance.?? But more importantly, the other aspect of the training involves getting the diver out of the water safely and being able to undress them without the contaminant getting on their skin," Chief Petty Officer 2nd Class explained.

He also stated that there will be a demonstration on the use of the Seabotix VLB 950 (sea robot) equipment – a valuable tool used to detect sunken vessels and effect timely rescues by divers.??

Explaining the importance of the sea robot, Petty Officer 2nd Class, Yves Bernard described it as the "future" in diving operations.?? "You can never replace a diver, but the sea robot is the kind of tool that you would like to have to assist you in doing the things that a diver cannot.?? In fact, this particular model can go as far down as 3 000 feet and is quite versatile and user friendly," he said.

In agreement, Chief Petty Officer 2nd Class Tiffin also described the sea robot as "lightweight and easier to operate by two divers, thus making it easier to identify a sunken submarine quickly or to pinpoint the sight of an airplane crash.??

Additionally, members of the media were shown a demonstration of the bomb suit worn by the Explosive Ordinance Disposal (bomb team).

Exercise Tradewinds continues tomorrow, Tuesday, June 19, with a Command Post Exercise at the Crane Resort, St. Philip, starting at 10:00 a.m.?? Later in the day, there will be a brief Finger Pier handing-over ceremony at the Barbados Coast Guard’s HMBS Pelican Headquarters, Spring Garden, St. Michael, commencing at 2:30 a.m.

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