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2012 Press Releases

U.S. Navy Dolphins Arrive in Montenegro to Participate in the Multi-national Exercise

On Friday, October 5, a group of specially trained U.S. Navy Marine Mammal Program bottlenose dolphins arrived in Tivat, Montenegro, to participate in the Dolphin 2012 exercise. The dolphins are accompanied by a specially trained civilian team of marine mammal handlers from the United States. The Dolphin 2012 training program will take place in the Bay of Kotor throughout the month of October 2012, with operations staged out of Tivat, Montenegro. During the exercise, the dolphins will search for, detect, and mark the location of possible sea mines or other Explosive Remnants of War (ERW) on the sea-floor. This training exercise, which includes the US Navy’s Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit-1 (EODMU-1), along with the participation of Montenegrin Navy divers and military divers from neighboring nations, is using an exercise scenario which simulates a United Nations peacekeeping mission.

The dolphins, along with their civilian trainers and members of EODMU-1 were transported to Tivat by U.S. military aircraft from their home base in San Diego, California, USA. To ensure the safety and welfare of the marine mammals, veterinary personnel are also accompanying the team.

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 will locate ERW which may date back to World Wars I and II using their exceptional biological sonar. After locating an object, the dolphin will be provided a marker by its handler to be placed near the object and a Marine Mammal Program diver will confirm the location and identify the type of object. The dolphin team will then exit the area and EODMU-1, along with their Montenegrin Navy dive partners will be sent to re-acquire the object and further identify and categorize it. This activity is part of the overall training program EODMU-1 is conducting as part of Dolphin 12. EODMU-1 will be training Montenegrin Navy divers to search, locate and mark ERW. Divers from Slovenia and Croatia are also expected to observe and participate in the training during this exercise. At the end of the deployment the U.S. Embassy will provide a listing 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.

Press are invited to an introductory briefing session, which will provide an overview of the Marine Mammal Program and Dolphin 2012 exercise on Tuesday, October 9 at 11:30 a.m. at the School Ship Jadran in Tivat, Montenegro.

To RSVP for the press briefing and for more information, please contact Sasa Brajovic, U.S. Embassy press section, at brajovics@state.gov or on +382 67 28 35 42. For more information visit the page about the Navy Marine Mammal Program.