The Windy City plays host to Divex 2017

Insert by Commander Cara Pratten. Photos by Able Seaman Tams
13 October 2017 – Sitrep 1

DIVEX is an annual diving exercise aimed at conducting refresher training of all South African Navy divers, which is conducted under the auspices of the Flag Officer Fleet. This year, it takes place from 9 to 19 October 2017 in Port Elizabeth with Commander Wayne Combrink as Mission Commander, supported by Chief of Staff, Lieutenant Commander “MJ” Lebea. This exercise cannot be conducted without the support of the South African Military Health Service, the South African Air Force and the Army Support Base Port Elizabeth, who provide the catering.

Diver ascends after completion of brocco-cutting on Day 2

The purpose of DIVEX is to conduct Air and Sea rescue training, underwater damage control, bottom searches, capacity building for instrument fitters and to bring the diving capability at Naval Station Port Elizabeth to a BLOC (benign level of capability) status. Whilst this is underway, local secondary school learners are invited to visit the Station to gain exposure to practical diving and pre-selection requirements.

Air sea rescue with BK117 on Day 1

 "Sea lifting" a patient on Day 2

The programme entails 53 divers split into 3 different groups to conduct and rotate between accomplishing the different objectives over the period.

The exercise commenced on Thursday, 12 October 2017. The Air and Sea Rescue component of the DIVEX 17 had to be simulated due to adverse weather conditions in Port Elizabeth. The employment of the 15 Squadron BK117 was hampered because of high wind speeds but this did not deter the execution of this serial as the facilitators industriously transformed the hall at Naval Station PE into a rescue simulation area. The procedures for retrieval and hoisting of patients was fastidiously overseen by Warrant Officer Class 1 Atkinson from SAS SIMONSBERG Diving School and Staff Sergeant Els from the Institute for Maritime Medicine Simon’s Town.

Indoor Air Sea Rescue on Day 2

Watch this space for further updates regarding the progress of DIVEX 17!