Sea Mine safety interest

Thursday, 26 May, 2005

The US, Denmark and Singapore are interested in buying new Australian technology which allows the safe removal of hazardous sea mines.

Defence Minister Robert Hill revealed the interest as he unveiled the technology, which allows sea mines to be lifted to the surface by an air-filled bag and then towed to a safe place for defusing or detonating. The 'cormorant lift bag' is operated by remote control and can retrieve mines weighing up to one tonne from a depth of 90 m. Two bags will be fitted on each of Australia's six Huon class coastal minehunter ships. "Sea mines are a significant hazard for navy operations and commercial shipping because they are so cheap to make, easy to deploy and becoming increasingly sophisticated and hard to detect," Hill told reporters. "The safe disposal of sea mines is a high priority for the Navy, and technologies such as the new lift bag will assist the diving team to carry out their clearance operations in safety."

It was developed by the Defence Science and Technology Organisation and the Navy in partnership with two small Tasmanian companies, Liferaft Systems Australia and Fiomarine Industries.

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