TWO Royal Australian Navy ships yesterday began hydrographical surveys of waters between Buka and Torokina in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville to support Operation Render Safe 2014.
Operation Render Safe, conducted by the Australian Defence Force on behalf of the Australian Government, is a regional program to remove unexploded bombs, weapons and ammunition remaining from World War II.
The operation occurs regularly in the South West Pacific. The most recent tasks removed explosive remnants of war from Solomon Islands in 2013 and from Rabaul in 2011.
The Australian Government is conducting Operation Render Safe in Torokina in 2014 at the request of the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG).
Royal Australian Navy ships HMAS Benalla and HMAS Shepparton arrived in Torokina yesterday. They will sail along the coastline to chart water depths, mark any underwater obstructions and determine suitable anchorage points for ships involved in Operation Render Safe.
The survey will also include examining the beach at Torokina to determine its capacity to handle equipment moved from ships offshore to onshore locations to support the operation.
Survey operations will continue in the area until 27 April. The ships will travel to Kimbe and Gizo, Solomon Islands, during this time to refuel.
Survey information will be shared with the PNG National Maritime Safety Authority and the Autonomous Bougainville Government to provide accurate charts of Autonomous Region of Bougainville waters.