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NZ Navy recovers WW2 munitions in Solomons

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 20/09/2016

A 250-pound bomb is among 50 unexploded munitions from World War 2 recovered by New Zealand and Canadian military personnel in the Solomon Islands.

Royal New Zealand Navy divers from the support ship HMZNS Manawanui and Canadian Defence Force explosives experts found the ordnance as part of an operation to make Solomons communities safer.

The munitions came from villages and waterways in Sunlight Channel in the Russell Islands.

The area was the site of a US Army Air Corps airstrip and ammunition base, which was used to support the campaign against Japanese forces.

HMZNS Manawanui commanding officer Lieutenant Commander Muzz Kennett says there is plenty of pride among the crew about their role in making the Solomons safer.

He says all the munitions except for the 250-pound bomb have been detonated safely underwater. The bomb will be disposed of at a later date.

The three-week operation, Render Safe, is led by the Australian Defence Force and runs every second year.

A similar operation on the Papua New Guinean island of Bougainville in 2014 recovered 2293 ammunition items, containing more than 16 tonnes of explosives.

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