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U.S. and Tunisian Divers Complete First Bilateral Dive Engagement in 10 years

06 April 2021

From U.S. Sixth Fleet Public Affairs

BIZERTE, Tunisia - U.S. Navy Divers assigned to Construction Dive Detachment Charlie (CDD/C), a detachment of Underwater Construction Team (UCT) 1, and the Tunisian Navy Specialized Diver Regiment (RPS) conducted the first bilateral dive engagement between the Tunisian and U.S. Navy in nearly a decade.

The bilateral dive engagement featured surface supplied diving, underwater welding, recompression chamber operations, hydrographic survey techniques and maritime infrastructure assessments. 

“The activities focused on combined diving operations and subject matter expert exchanges that enabled both navies to improve their proficiency as well as be ready to work together in the future,” said LTJG William Pelger, UCT 1 officer in charge.

The maritime infrastructure assessments collected engineering data and established condition and capability ratings that will inform future waterfront construction, repair and maintenance plans. This assessment is part of the U.S. Sixth Fleet Maritime Infrastructure Assistance Program (MIAP), which collaborates with partner nations like Tunisia, to ensure key maritime infrastructure supports combined maritime exercises and operations like Phoenix Express. 

“These types of exercises are instrumental for improving maritime security along the North African coastline,” said Pelger. “It was a pleasure to work side by side building important maritime partnerships while sharing best practices, tactics, and diving techniques and procedures.” 

The UCT CDDs are specially trained and equipped units within the Navy Expeditionary Combat Force that construct, inspect, repair and maintain ports, ocean facilities, underwater systems and general maritime infrastructure. UCT is a key component of port damage repair operations during a disaster or contingency.

The U.S. Sixth Fleet MIAP ensures the ability to quickly restore key ports and maritime infrastructure by increasing the collective understanding and available engineering data before a there is a crisis. This project also enhances regional interoperability, disaster response capabilities and fosters new and enduring relationships.

Phoenix Express is an annual all-domain exercise to improve U.S. capabilities and interoperability with European and North African partners, increase partner self-sufficiency in the maritime domain, and assess and enhance the maritime security cooperation of U.S., European, and African regional partners. 

U.S. 6th Fleet, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with allied and interagency partners, in order to advance U.S. national interests and security and stability in Europe and Africa. 

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