September 3, 2020 (Google Translation) – From 20 to 31 August 2020, aboard its Vulcain base building , the group of demining divers from the French Navy in the Channel and North Sea (GPD Manche) led the first part of the NATO exercise SANDY COAST 20.
From August 24 to 28, in particular, the tactical phase of the exercise took place, featuring a coordinated multinational recovery of port channels under mine threat. Scenario: following several simulated terrorist attacks perpetrated in the port of Ostend by rebel militias, French, German and Dutch intervention teams are engaged to allow the reopening of this port of major economic importance.
GPD Manche represented the French intervention team. With his 7 clearance divers and his hyperbaric nurse from the Army health service, the GPD Manche carried out operations to neutralize explosive devices and underwater research in the unusual environment represented by the Belgian canals. During the 45 hours of dives carried out, the GPD Manche intervened for the treatment of suicide boats, neutralization of hull charge on ship, demining of trapped quays, mine detection by underwater drone and by diver or still obstruction lifting.
For Lieutenant-Commander Cédric Tessier – commander of the GPD Manche and currently deployed, “ this exercise made it possible to sweep a large part of the spectrum of missions that can be ordered to a detachment of demining divers from the French Navy. Sandy Coast was very instructive to us in terms of training in a realistic tactical context but also in a multinational context allowing to observe the procedures implemented by each of the nations, to share our respective feedback and to strengthen the links. between participating European nations. Operating in a demanding environment, narrow port canals with almost zero underwater visibility, we had to call on all our know-how and our composure to carry out our missions. “.
1st installment of Sandy Coast in figures:
– around fifty sailors from 4 nations (Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, France);
– 30 dives were carried out for the GPD Manche representing approximately 45 hours;
– 13 devices neutralized by the GPD Manche (a jacket bomb, a suicide boat, an artisanal drift mine, 6 artisanal bottom mines, 2 artisanal rope mines, a trapped dock defense, an artisanal hull charge).