2012 Press Releases
U.S. Navy Dolphins to Participate in the Multi-national Dolphin 2012 Exercise and Humanitarian Mine Action Training Event in Montenegro
The U.S. Navy Marine Mammal Program will send a group of specially trained bottlenose dolphins to Tivat, Montenegro, to participate in the Dolphin 2012 exercise in October 2012. During the exercise in Boka-Kotorska Bay, the dolphins will detect and mark the location of possible sea mines or other explosive remnants of war on the ocean bottom. This training exercise, which includes the participation of divers from several nations to identify potentially dangerous objects which may date back to World Wars I and II, simulates a United Nations peacekeeping mission.
During the mine-searching operations, U.S. Navy Marine Mammal Program dolphins will locate mine-like objects 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. The dolphin team will then exit the area and regional Navy divers will be sent to identify the object. At the end of the exercise, a grid listing all identified objects and their locations will be presented to the Government of Montenegro. A specially trained civilian team of marine mammal handlers from the United States will be the lead dolphin handlers while staging operations from Tivat, Montenegro.
This visit of the dolphins is part of a multi-year U.S. program to assist Montenegro with detecting potentially dangerous objects and building Montenegro’s capacity to rehabilitate areas where explosive remnants of war are present. As part of this first phase of the program, U.S. Navy technicians will train Montenegrin Navy divers to search, locate and mark explosive remnants of war with GPS coordinates. The long-term goal of the program is to enable Montenegro to establish an effective and sustainable underwater clearance capability. Several neighboring nations have also been invited to participate in the diver training.
The dolphins are part of the U.S. Navy Marine Mammal Program, which helps provide enhanced safety and security for military operations in the continental United States and throughout the world. While the Navy also uses other systems to locate and recover underwater objects, including sonar, Navy human divers and submersibles, current technology does not yet match the exceptional effectiveness of the dolphin’s biological sonar capabilities.
The dolphins, along with their civilian trainers and members of the U.S. Navy’s Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit (EODMU) 1, will be transported to Tivat by U.S. military aircraft from their home base in San Diego, California, U.S.A. To ensure the safety and welfare of the marine mammals, veterinary personnel will also accompany the team.
U.S. Navy Marine Mammal Program dolphins receive two to three years of specialty training before beginning work on underwater security projects. The Navy is committed to the safety and well being of marine mammals and the protection of the environment and provides exceptional care for its marine mammals. Navy dolphins typically live much longer than their counterparts in the wild, receive round-the-clock medical and dental care and are fed a diet of restaurant-grade fish. The Navy’s marine mammals operate in the open ocean without tethers and to date, no Navy marine mammal has been a casualty in any hostile conflict.
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 are helping to make this deployment possible.
For more information, please contact Sasa Brajovic, U.S. Embassy press section, at email@example.com or on +382 67 28 35 42. For more information about the Navy Marine Mammal Program: www.public.navy.mil/spawar/Pacific/71500/Pages.