The Cambodia Mine Action Centre (CMAC) held a joint training exercise yesterday with US officials to help with the detection of underwater UXOs, according to Heng Ratana, director of the organisation. Ratana said the exercise was ‘new technical equipment training’ where trainees learned how to use equipment that helped detect underwater mines, uncover them and safely remove them.
‘The exercise today involved an inert Mark 81 bomb placed on the sea floor. The inert bomb was located, secured to a lift balloon, raised to the surface and towed at a safe distance to shore, all while keeping other vessels and bystanders at a safe distance away,’ said Jay Raman, a spokesman for the US Embassy.
The new equipment used included a handheld sonar device and a metal detector for finding the mines in the first place, an underwater dredge for clearing mud and sand off the mines and an “Orca” lift balloon for removing the UXOs. According to Ratana, the group is still in the training phase and probably won’t be ready to use the new equipment until February or March.