Top US Commander Visits Dive Team

Able Diver Trent Luka from Wellington entering the water and ADR Kyran Bennett from Wanganui in the water
Able Diver Trent Luka from Wellington entering the water and ADR Kyran Bennett from Wanganui in the water

13 July 2016

The New Zealand Defence Force’s Littoral Warfare Unit (LWU) has just hosted the Commander of the US Third Fleet, Vice Admiral (VADM) Nora Tyson, at Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam, Hawaii.

The LWU is the Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN) specialist unit comprising divers, hydrographers and mine counter measures. A detachment of the LWU is participating in RIMPAC 2016 focusing on salvage diving and clearance operations operating alongside Australia, Canada, China, and the United States.

VADM Tyson is the lead for RIMPAC and was recently a guest speaker at the NZDF Women’s Development Forum at RNZAF Base Ohakea.

During the visit Lieutenant (LT) Wesley Moir, who is in charge of the Dive Element, explained the dive equipment arrangement and the underwater procedures, while panel operator Able Diver Jamie Howden explained the dive operation from the surface, and the camera functions.

“The procedures demonstrated are a small element of the procedures used for the overall scenario which sees our team conducting underwater survey search operations using side scan sonar and REMUS (remote underwater vehicles) and clearance diving in order to remove underwater obstructions,” said LWU detachment commander Lieutenant Commander Philip Davies.

“It is great to be here, and it’s a fantastic opportunity to build relationships and be face to face with our counterparts working together as capable and adaptive partners.”


The purpose of the LWU is to ensure access to and the use of harbours, inshore waters and associated coastal zones. The component parts of the LWU can be quickly assembled into a composite force and deployed by sea, land or air.

The LWU detachment has all the capabilities to locate, identify, survey, and clear obstructions. They include:

  • 12 person dive element using light surface supplied breathing apparatus; 
  • 6 person search element using 2 REMUS 100 autonomous underwater vehicles;
  • 5 person survey element using single beam echo-sounder and side scan sonar; and
  • 7 person command and support element including logistics, medical, catering, and admin.

RIMPAC provides a unique training opportunity that helps participants foster and sustain the cooperative relationships that are critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world’s oceans.


For further information, please contact Defence Public Affairs on 021 487 980

This page was last reviewed on 13 July 2016.