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International explosive ordinance disposal exercise EODEX wrapped up


On August 3 - 10 international explosive ordinance disposal exercise EODEX was held in Klaipėda. This year the EOD divers' exercise was conducted by the Lithuanian Navy.

The exercise objective was to detect, identify and neutralise water surface, submerged and land improvised explosive devices on the water. The exercise held in cooperation with the Lithuanian Air Force and MD Jonas Basanavičius Military Medical Service trained EOD divers from Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Portugal and the U.S., forces were contributed by Juozas Vitkus Engineer Battalion, State Border Guard Service's Coast Guard District Unit.

During the exercise Portuguese EOD divers deployed with the Lithuanian Grand Duke Butigeidis Dragoon Battalion destroyed in the Baltic Sea a historical German anchor mine from the World War II period which was found at 25 meters below water surface.

The exercise was last held in Lithuania in 2016, in 2017 EOD divers were training in Estonia, and last year - in Latvia.

According to Deputy Command of the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Diving Unit Lt (Navy) Irmantas Medutis, it takes approximately 3-5 years to train an EOD diver, sometimes even longer. It includes testing the character, water, closed quarters and other phobias, motivation and teamwork abilities, a diver needs to be physically fit and undergo numerous training while practicing and gaining underwater experience.

Approximately 3% of mines laid in the Baltic Sea were destroyed still during WWI and WWII, and another 5 - 10% later. Naval mines were laid in the depth of up to 60 meters to maximize their impact. They still pose a major threat: Belgian fishermen accidentally caught one in their nets in the Black Sea in 2005 - the explosion killed four people, and there have been more similar accidents.

Photo credits: Sergeant Specialist Ieva Budzeikaitė and Seaman Ieva Želvytė

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