CONSTANTA, Romania – Diving teams from Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Romania, Ukraine and the U.S. met for Eurasia Partnership (EP) Dive 2013 in Constanta, Romania, June 10 - 21.
The annual event, co-hosted by the U.S. and Romanian navies, aims to improve diving interoperability, standardization of procedures and equipment familiarity with participating nations.
Lt. Joshua Aisen, U.S. Naval Forces Europe Eurasia Partnership program director, said the main goal of exercises like these is to improve the participants’ ability to work together.
“Interoperability is a perishable skill that you have to practice, even within the U.S. Navy,” said Aisen. “The piece that we’re focusing on is working together and identifying any obstacles to that in a maritime environment and how to overcome them.”
EP Dive consisted of several events taking place aboard the Romanian diving support ship Saturn and the salvage ship Grigore Antipa. Divers conducted simulated deep-sea diving, explosive ordnance disposal (EOD), demolition exercises and practiced mine countermeasures.
Aboard the salvage ship Grigore Antipa, participants practiced surface-supplied diving techniques in the open sea.
“Surface-supplied diving is a type of diving where your air supply stays on the surface,” said Navy Diver 2nd Class Travis Wooden, assigned to EOD Mobile Unit 8. “We went to depths of 40 meters here and did exercises on the bottom such as flange projects and using hydraulic tools that are used for salvage projects and missions.”
Participants also used the ship’s decompression chamber to simulate surface decompression, a method used during inclement weather or strong currents. The chamber simulates deep-water pressure and slowly changes to atmospheric pressure, allowing the body to adjust. This method is life-saving when they are unable to acclimate on their dive ascent.
As divers aboard the salvage ship Grigore Antipa practiced deep sea diving techniques, those aboard the diving support ship Saturn practiced EOD techniques, including underwater demolition and mine countermeasures.
“I think the underwater demolition exercises went very well,” said Romanian navy Lt. Cmdr. Michael Jordache. “We practiced using real explosives. Our standard operating procedures are common with the U.S. and we tried to show the other countries how similar we all work.”
“Diving is unique, because your life depends on your fellow divers,” said Lt. Cmdr. Gary Hunter, a U.S. exercise planner for EP Dive 2013. “Working together helps to increase interoperability of these different navies and therefore builds up trust and friendship.”