2012 Press Releases
Dolphin 2012 Multinational Exercise Comes to a Successful Conclusion
October 24, 2012
Dolphin 2012 multinational exercise came to a successful conclusion
on Wednesday, October 24. During the month long program, six
bottlenose dolphins from the U.S. Navy’s Marine Mammal Program
searched for, detected, and marked the location of possible sea mines
or other Explosive Remnants of War (ERW) in the Bay of Kotor. The
exercise concluded with a graduation ceremony of Montenegrin Navy
Divers who completed a training program with the U.S. Navy Explosive
Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 1 (EODMU-1).
U.S. Ambassador to Montenegro Sue K. Brown, Montenegrin Navy Lieutenant Commander Predrag Supic and U.S. Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit Lieutenant Junior Grade Jeffrey Pitts spoke at the ceremony in front of the Montenegrin Navy School ship Jadran in Tivat, Montenegro.
During the exercise, U.S. Navy Divers shared their expertise with fifteen Montenegrin divers and representatives from the Croatian and Slovenian Navies. The graduation ceremony honored the Montenegrin divers who received training in searching for, locating, marking, and identifying underwater ERW. The graduation ceremony was followed by a dive equipment donation ceremony. The U.S. Navy donated over $70,000 worth of dive equipment to the Montenegrin Navy to help them with their efforts to establish an effective and sustainable underwater clearance capability.
At a reception on Tuesday evening, October 23, the Montenegrin Minister of Defense, Dr. Milica Pejanovic-Djurisic, and the U.S. Ambassador to Montenegro Sue K. Brown praised all involved in the exercise. “This truly has been a world-class multi-national training success. My sincere gratitude goes out to the Montenegrin agencies and organizations that helped smooth the path for this mission and who supported the teams’ arrival, stay, and departure,” said Ambassador Brown.
The focal point of the exercise has been the group of six specially trained U.S. Navy Marine Mammal Program (MMP) bottlenose dolphins who arrived in Tivat, Montenegro on October 5 as part of the Dolphin 2012 exercise. Throughout their time in Montenegro, the dolphins have been with their team of specially trained civilian marine mammal handlers and veterinarian and support staff from the United States. During the exercise and operations, the dolphins searched for and marked the location of possible mines or other Explosive Remnants of War (ERW) on the seabed of Boka-Kotorska Bay.
dolphins, along with their civilian trainers and members of EODMU-1,
will now be transported back to their home base in San Diego,
California by U.S. Air Force aircraft. To ensure the safety and
welfare of the marine mammals, veterinary personnel were deployed
during this entire operation, as they always are during MMP
In-kind services and funding from the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Department of State’s Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement, U.S. Department of Defense’s Humanitarian Demining Training Center, and the U.S. European Command’s Humanitarian Mine Action Program, in addition to the cooperation from the Montenegrin Ministry of Defense all made this unique exercise a success.
This year’s exercise is part of a multi-year U.S. program to assist Montenegro with detecting potentially dangerous underwater objects and building Montenegro’s capacity to rehabilitate areas where ERW are present. As part of this first phase of the program, U.S. Navy Marine Mammal Program dolphins located ERW which may date back to World Wars I and II using their exceptional biological sonar. After locating an object, the dolphin placed markers near the object and Marine Mammal Program divers confirmed the exact location and photographed the object. The dolphin team then exited the area and EODMU-1, along with their Montenegrin Navy dive partners dove to the areas marked by the dolphins to further identify and categorize objects. The U.S. Embassy will provide an official list of all locations of identified ERW objects to the Government of Montenegro. The long-term goal of the program is to enable Montenegro to establish an effective and sustainable underwater clearance capability.