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Safeguard, Malaysian Navy Combine Forces

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS050727-05
Release Date: 7/27/2005 12:20:00 PM

From USS Safeguard Public Affairs

ABOARD USS SAFEGUARD, At Sea (NNS) -- USS Safeguard (ARS 50) completed diving and salvage operations July 18 with the Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) as part of exercise Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) 2005’s Malaysian segment held off of Tioman Island, Malaysia.

Safeguard and other U.S. Navy ships spent part of CARAT July 12-15 conducting at-sea exercises with the Malaysian navy. One of the exercises conducted was an unusual one, but served to boost dive readiness and interoperability between the two forces. The navies worked together to pull up a purposely-sunken sport utility vehicle (SUV) from the ocean floor.

“The dives we did with the Royal Malaysian Navy were very successful,” said Lt. Cmdr. Doyle Hodges, Safeguard’s commanding officer. “We were to able to communicate and cooperate effectively in order to execute each exercise with amazing precision.”

With engine and fluids already removed from the SUV, the Malaysian navy lowered the vehicle into 100 feet of seawater. Safeguard and Malaysian divers - three from each ship - then teamed to locate the vehicle and prepare it to be lifted out. Safeguard used its salvage equipment to lift the vehicle from the water and placed it on the Malaysian vessel.

The dive was considered a decompression dive, as most Navy dives are. This is where divers, in order to sustain pressure from surface depth, must enter a hyperbaric chamber beforehand and then breathe oxygen gas after reaching the surface.

After salvaging the SUV, the crews moved on to practice other salvage techniques, to include patching and airlifting a salvage box. Safeguard was also able to teach its Malaysian counterparts about underwater hydraulic tools and salvage gear.

Overall, Safeguard’s crew felt it was a very successful joint operation for both navies.

Safeguard has been involved with CARAT since deploying from Sasebo April 21. It has been involved in the previous two sections of CARAT 2005, hosted in Singapore and then Thailand.

Three phases remain in the CARAT series: Indonesia, Brunei, and Republic of the Philippines.

Safeguard is a forward-deployed rescue and salvage ship operating out of Sasebo, Japan, and is part of Task Force 76, the Navy’s only forward-deployed amphibious force.

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