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NEWS | July 21, 2016

Second Rim of the Pacific Sinking Exercise Concludes

By Rim of the Pacific Public Affairs

PACIFIC OCEAN (NNS) -- Live fire from ships and aircraft participating in Rim of the Pacific 2016 sank the decommissioned USS Crommelin (FFG 37) July 19 in waters 15,000 feet deep and 55 nautical miles north of Kauai, Hawaii.

RIMPAC units, including the Royal Canadian Navy Halifax-class frigate Her Majesty's Canadian Ship Calgary (FF 335), Royal New Zealand Navy ship HMNZS Te Kaha (F77), littoral combat ship USS Coronado (LCS 4), and various aircraft from the U.S. and Australia gained proficiency in targeting and live firing at a surface target.

"This SINKEX was the culmination of weeks of training within the RIMPAC scenario," said Royal Australian Navy Commodore Malcolm Wise. "We know that this opportunity rarely occurs in a Sailor's career and I'm excited that we were able to provide this unforgettable experience during the world's largest international maritime exercise."

This marked the first time that the U.S. Independence-variant littoral combat ship successfully fired a harpoon missile, a weapon typically used by larger classes of ships.

Former Navy vessels used in SINKEXs are prepared in strict compliance with regulations prescribed and enforced by the Environmental Protection Agency under a general permit the Navy holds pursuant to the Marine Protection, Research and Sanctuaries Act.

Each SINKEX is required to sink the hulk in at least 1,000 fathoms (6,000 feet) of water and at least 50 nautical miles from land. Surveys are conducted to ensure that humans and marine mammals are not in an area where they could be harmed during the event.

Prior to the vessel being transported for participation in a SINKEX, each vessel is put through a rigorous cleaning process, including the removal of all polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), transformers and large capacitors, all small capacitors to the greatest extent practical, trash, floatable materials, mercury or fluorocarbon-containing materials and readily detachable solid PCB items. Petroleum is also cleaned from tanks, piping and reservoirs.

A Navy civilian environmental, safety and health manager and a quality assurance supervisor inspect the environmental remediation conducted in preparation of a vessel's use in a SINKEX. Upon completion of the environmental remediation, the manager and supervisor provide signed certification of the work in accordance with EPA requirements.

Decommissioned USS Crommelin was the 28th ship of the Oliver Hazard Perry-class guided-missile frigates, named for three brothers: Vice Adm. Henry Crommelin, who became a surface warfare officer, and Cmdr. Charles and Lt. Cmdr. Richard Crommelin, both of whom died in combat as naval aviators. All three brothers gained fame in World War II, attaining outstanding combat records and multiple decorations. Crommelin was commissioned June 18, 1983 and originally homeported in Long Beach, California, August 1983. Over her long career, the ship participated in more than eight deployments, was involved in exercises such as Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT), Koa Kai and conducted counter narcotics operations, among other missions.

Held every two years by Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet and executed by Commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet, RIMPAC is the world's largest biennial international maritime exercise. Twenty-six nations, more than 40 ships and submarines, more than 200 aircraft, and 25,000 personnel are participating in RIMPAC from June 30 to Aug. 4 in and around the Hawaiian Islands and Southern California. RIMPAC provides a unique training opportunity that helps participants foster and sustain the cooperative relationships that are critical to ensuring the safety of seal lanes and security on the world's oceans.
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