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Indo-US joint exercise 'SALVEX' begins at coast of Andaman Nicobar

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

New Delhi, Jan 5, IRNA -- Navies of India and the US Wednesday began a week-long joint exercise codenamed ‘SALVEX’ off the coast off Andaman in Nicobar Islands.

The aim of the exercise is to strengthen capability in niche techniques associated with diving and salvage. In the course of the seven day exercise various specialist salvage techniques will be practiced jointly by the IN and USN divers.

During the exercise, the Indian Navy will also gain experience of working on underwater Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs) and side scan SONARs being launched from USS Safeguard, Navy officials, said an official statement issued here.

The exercise will also witness the operation of Hot Tap Equipment, which is used for removal of oil or fuel from tanks of sunken vessels. During the SALVEX the divers will also hone their salvage skills on a 'Mud Monster', a pontoon specially built and sunk to practice salvage and diving exercises.

In this edition of SALVEX, the Indian Navy's team comprises 17 Clearance Divers including two officers and the US Navy's team comprises 15 divers including two officers are participating.

India is one of the four countries in the world having the capability to dive up to the depths of 300 metres into the sea.

INS Nireekshak is Indian Navy's specialist diving support ship with the capacity to support dives up to 300 metres deep.

The maiden IN-USN SALVEX was conducted in 2005 and the SALVEX series of exercises have been conducted annually thereafter alternately in India and US Pacific locations. Interestingly in the first SALVEX a vintage Sea Hawk fighter aircraft was recovered from a depth of about 50 metres off Kochi. IN Salvage teams have also recovered a Seaking helicopter from a depth of 70 metres in the past.

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