Navy divers at Naval Station (NS) Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, discovered an object that appeared to be unexploded ordnance, Oct. 30.
Located approximately 20 feet offshore of the installation's Windward Ferry Landing beach, the object was spotted as NS Guantanamo Bay's dive team inspected the surrounding waters for safe public use.
All beaches at NS Guantanamo Bay remain closed for debris removal left in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.
"Initially there was a 1,250 square foot cordon established," said NS Guantanamo Bay Emergency Manager Mark Kennedy. "Facilities inside the cordon were evacuated. An incident command was set up and the installation's Weapons officer served as the incident commander (IC). The IC requested support of the Emergency Operation Center (EOC)."
As emergency response representatives from the installation's Security, Fire, Port Operations, and other respective departments manned the EOC, base officials shifted Ferry transportation services to an alternate location near the Bayview restaurant.
"The entire procedure was in line with the Incident Command System and the National Incident Management System," said Kennedy. "We treated this event as an actual emergency and took every precaution necessary to ensure the community was protected."
Technicians attached to Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit (EODMU) 6, Mayport, Fla., were contacted and departed for NS Guantanamo Bay to assist with the identification and removal of the object in question.
"Our lead EOD technician did close reconnaissance on the object and based on internal and external features, he was able to determine that it was, in fact, a practice device and that it did not pose a hazard," said EODMU 6 Officer-in-Charge Lt. j.g. Matthew Grove. "It was certified as 'inert' and the non-hazardous device was turned over to Weapons department for proper disposal in accordance with base regulations and directives."
According to Chief Navy Diver Michael Linzy, command diving officer, the practice device weighed approximately 100 pounds.
At approximately 9:30 p.m. that evening, the "all clear" was passed base wide via the installation's Facebook page, base information television channel, and through a command-wide press release, informing residents that normal Ferry transportation operations had been restored.
"In a case like this, we absolutely have to do 'due-diligence' to make sure everyone is protected," said Grove. "Based on the initial findings, we built a 'worse case' scenario and did a thorough threat assessment to make sure everyone would be protected in the case of an accidental detonation. We were able to get here quickly, determine there were no hazards, and get traffic moving again."
Article by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW/AW) Justin Ailes Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba Public Affairs