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Conference Brings Asia Pacific Submariners Together

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS050916-17
Release Date: 9/16/2005 2:03:00 PM

By Chief Journalist (SW/AW) David Rush, Commander, Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet Public Affairs

PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii (NNS) -- Representatives from 15 nations attended the fifth annual Asia Pacific Submarine Conference in Honolulu, Hawaii, Sept. 12-15.

The conference, hosted by Commander, Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet (SUBPAC), is designed to foster regional cooperation and develop and maintain relationships among Asia Pacific submarine operators in submarine escape and rescue.

“This really is all about being able to support each other from a humanitarian perspective for those of us that serve beneath the sea," said Rear Adm. James Beebe, SUBPAC deputy commander. "It’s to make sure we have venues available to hopefully save our Sailors should an unfortunate event happen.”

Though the conference had been planned for several months, it came just six weeks after international rescuers sped to the Russian Far East to help free a trapped Priz submersible with seven Russian seamen inside.

“International cooperation in submarine rescue is very useful," said Russian Navy Capt. Anatoliy Suvalov, a participant in the conference. "We need to strengthen our relations in that area.”

“When a rescue operation is done and there are people saved, maybe we can find a way to do it even better, but the main idea is to rescue people,” he said.

In addition to the successful Priz rescue, participants discussed the rescue efforts following an October 2004 fire aboard the Canadian submarine HMCS Chicoutimi (SSK 879).

They also discussed plans for the next Pacific Reach submarine rescue exercise, as well as highlights from the recent submarine rescue exercise Sorbet Royal in the Mediterranean.

Conference participants included submariners from the United States, United Kingdom, France, Canada, Chile, Australia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Pakistan, India, Russia and China.

Chinese representative Cmdr. Zhang Xu said he was glad to be a part of the conference. “The conference is important because submarine rescue is important," said Xu. "We can work together to develop and improve our capabilities.”

Rear Adm. John J. Donnelly, U.S. Pacific Fleet deputy commander, said the conference is essential to submariners in the Pacific, and throughout the world.

“Only through proper readiness and cooperation can we expect to complete a submarine rescue successfully,” Donnelly said. “Although we train and practice extensively for submarine casualties, we pray that these events will never occur."

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