Diving exercise for disaster relief

Divers of the Royal Netherlands Navy will visit Sint Maarten this Monday (October, 29) for a diving exercise. They will concentrate on disaster relief. This is the first time the divers come to Sint Maarten for such a scenario.


The navy divers visit the Dutch Caribbean for years, mostly for the international diving exercise Western Partnership. This year they will perform it something different. "We can be very useful in the assistance after the execution of such a natural disaster like an hurricane", says the Commander of the Dive Company, lieutenant Bernd Roelink. "With our modern equipment we can assist the local authorities for underwater search for bodies or wrecks of removing obstructions."


For the implementation of this specific exercise the divers concentrate on the precise mapping of the bottom of the Simsonbay lagoon. The divers can scan an area of 10.000 m2 per minute with advanced search equipment, which gives a very clear picture of what is happening underwater. The geographical and climatic conditions in the Caribbean offer a fine opportunity to all facets of this military action.


The divers are part of the Defence Diving Group and form the centre of professional diving in The Netherlands. The group is specialized in a variety of underwater work, both national and expeditionary. The divers are regularly deployed for military assistance such as the search for bodies of drowned people or evidence in criminal cases. To maintain the quality and expertise of military diving operations, this intensive training program is essential.

In total eleven divers take part in the dive exercise. The exercise takes place under control of the Commander Netherlands Forces in the Caribbean and is supported by the Dutch Caribbean Coast Guard.