I had never heard of this website so was a bit reluctant when I clicked on the article in my Google search, but it links to other news sources so I’m just going with it. Though by the name, I feel like I’m Anne Boleyn being sent to the Tower of London the night before my beheading.
Anyway, let’s get to the news!
In what everyone is calling the strategic Mandeb Strait, that’s the itty bitty channel of water were Yemen almost touches Africa, Yemen (as in the internationally recognized government) has begun clearing naval mines that were planted there by the Houthi. Last month, one of those mines killed 2 soldiers and injured 8 others.
The United States Office of Naval Intelligence warned in February that Houthi “naval mining threatens commercial ships traveling … near Mokha port and the Bab al Mandab Strait,” the American Enterprise Institute’s Critical Threats Project reported. An estimated 4.7 million barrels of oil pass daily through the strait, which links the Gulf of Aden to the Red Sea.
Naval mines…. what are they? Great big things that are put in the ocean waiting to explode when in contact with an enemy. They’re under the water so when your ship hits one — BOOM! These things can remain a dangerous threat in the ocean even years after wars are over, so they have to be removed.
The US Navy has a practical and adorable way to handle this. Meet the Navy’s Seals!
Beyond their cute and adorable demeanor, the Navy’s once highly secret Marine Mammal Program California sea lions are highly trained military assets, skilled in detecting and defending against mines and enemy swimmers. Program officials say the sea lions are better suited for the task than any piece of technology currently available.
For the first time, the sea lions participated in the massive U.S. 5th Fleet-led International mine countermeasures exercise in the Middle East, involving 6,500 personnel and 38 warships from more than 40 navies.
Sea lions can’t take all the credit. They have also trained dolphins for this extremely important task. Dolphins have a biological sonar, which is useful in detecting the mines underwater.
This hand out photo from the U.S. Navy shows members of the Deep/Shallow Water Mark 7 crew from Commander Task Unit deploy a Miller Pen that will house a bottlenose dolphin operating near the USS Gunston Hall March 17, 2003 in the Arabian Gulf. CTU-55.4.3 is a multinational team consisting of Naval Special Clearance Team-One, Fleet Diving Unit Three from the United Kingdom, Clearance Dive Team from Australia, and Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Units Six and Eight (EODMU-6 and EODMU-8). These units are conducting deep and shallow water mine counter measure operations to clear shipping lanes for humanitarian relief. CTU-55.4.3 and USS Gunston Hall are currently forward deployed conducting missions in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, the multinational coalition effort to liberate the Iraqi people, eliminate Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction, and end the regime of Saddam Hussein.
In this U.S. Navy handout photo, Sgt. Andrew Garrett watches a bottle nose dolphin named K-Dog, from Commander Task Unit, jump out of the water March 18, 2003 at sea in the Arabian Gulf near the USS Gunston Hall. Commander Task Unit is comprised of special mine clearing teams from The United Kingdom, Australia and the U.S.
This 10 min. video details operation “Dolphin 2013” and gives an overview of U.S. Navy Marine Mammal Program mine counter-measures work.
Navy members pull up a submersible device during the Operation Open Spirit, the latest in a long drive to clear the potentially deably devices from the baltic, on the deck of a Lithuanian mine-sweeper, off the coast of Klaipeda, in the Baltic Sea, on September 7, 2010. Ships from seven other Baltic navies, plus their counterparts from Belgium and France, have stepped in to help Lithuania tackle an enduring legacy of World Wars I and II, when both sides littered the sea with mines. According to Baltic militaries, an estimated 80,000 unexploded mines remain in the Baltic, mostly laid by Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union during World War II.