UXO destruction in Nauru

The second rotation of Operation Render Safe 2023 conducted a search and survey of key areas identified as containing unexploded ordnance (UXO) by the Government of Nauru from August to September.

CAPTIONAustralian Army Lance Corporal Lobenzo Humberto Meneses inspects an area of interest during Operation Render Safe, Nauru. Story by Captain Karam Louli. Photos by Corporal Sam Price.

Led by Captain John Weston, the multinational force comprised specialist personnel from the Australian Army, New Zealand Defence Force, Royal Solomon Islands Police Force and United States Marine Corps.

The contingent was joined by observers from South Korea, the United States Army and French Armed Forces of New Caledonia.

Nauru was used as a military base in WW2, resulting in a large amount of unexploded ordnance posing a significant threat to the public. An ADF contingent disposed of a 500lb unexploded bomb in July on the first rotation.

“At the request of the Government of Nauru, our multinational contingent is here to ensure the continued safety of the Nauru people,” Captain Weston said.

CAPTIONAustralian Army explosive ordnance disposal technician Corporal Joel Macmillan, left, and Royal Solomon Islands Police Force Constable Armstrong Ragoso survey the coastline using metal detection equipment.

“The search and surveillance is important to identify ERW [explosive remnants of war] and remove them from the community.”

The partnered nations operated in three teams. Sergeant Brent McLean led his surveillance team at Nauru’s airport.

“We have been conducting ERW surveys, responding to reports and providing advice in support of the Nauru Police Force [NPF],” Sergeant McLean said.

“I worked with a member of the NPF on a previous operation in the Solomon Islands. Seeing him work in his own country has been a good outcome.”

The contingent also delivered training to frontline workers and secondary school students on UXO safety.

The training leveraged the specialist skills of previously trained members of the Nauru Police Force and Royal Solomon Islands Police Force.

“The engagement is important because it leads to educating the local population,” Captain Weston said.

“We’re only here a limited time, however, when we depart it’s important the community understands hazards associated with ERW.”

Operation Render Safe is an ADF-led enduring commitment to remove the danger posed by ERW from Pacific nations involved in the Second World War.

CAPTIONFrom left, Royal Solomon Islands Police Force Staff Sergeant Ansa Puaraua, Australian Army Sapper William Buckoke and Australian Army explosive ordnance disposal technician Sergeant Brent McLean survey an airstrip in Nauru using metal detection equipment.






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One thought on “UXO destruction in Nauru

  • 24/09/2023 at 9:06 am

    When they run out of mines to find, maybe they could work on Cambodia and finally El Alamein. Sadly, plenty to keep us active for decades to come.


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