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Australian Minehunters Diamantina and Gascoyne display their skills in Korea.

| 2019

The Commanding Officer of HMAS Diamantina, Lieutenant Commander Darren McDevitt has hosted a welcoming event for Captain Soon Lee, the Commander of the Republic of Korea Navy (ROKN) Minesweeper Flotilla 5 and his staff in Busan, Korea.

Australian Minehunters Diamantina and Gascoyne display their skills in Korea 925 001 HMAS Diamantina (II) of the Royal Australian Navy (Picture source: Royal Australian Navy)

Joined by Commander Brett Dawe, the RAN Task Group Commander and the Commanding Officer of HMAS Gascoyne, Lieutenant Commander Sean Aitken, Lieutenant Commander McDevitt escorted the ROKN contingent for a tour of the ship.

During the ship’s tour, both groups talked about the similarities of tasks and equipment supporting Mine Warfare operations. The mine-disposal remotely operated vehicle and the diving re-compression equipment were highlights generating much discussion around capability and endurance.

Captain Lee was very pleased to have the opportunity to visit Diamantina and see the ships he will be exercising with first hand. “It is a great achievement for the Australian Navy to send these Minehunters such a long way to join us here for the Exercise,” Captain Lee said.

RAN Task Group Commander, Commander Dawe, exchanged cultural and Navy mementos with Captain Lee, while Lieutenant Commander McDevitt and Lieutenant Commander Aitken made similar exchanges with ROKN Squadron unit Commanding Officers.

This is the second time RAN minesweepers have sailed so far north to join in regional exercises and is the first time that a RAN Task Group Commander has led the participating units in the exercise.

The Task Group, Diamantina and Gascoyne are taking part in the multinational Mine Countermeasure Symposium and Mine Ware Exercise in the Republic of Korea as part of a four-month East Asian Deployment.

The Huon-class minehunter coastal (MHC) ships are a group of minehunters built for the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). Following problems with the Bay-class minehunters, a request for tender was issued in 1993 for a class of six coastal minehunters under the project designation SEA 1555. The tender was awarded in 1994 to the partnership of Australian Defence Industries (ADI) and Intermarine SpA, which was offering a variant of the Italian Gaeta-class minehunter.

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