ABIDJAN – The U.S. Navy’s USNS Grasp, a rescue and salvage vessel is here in Abidjan for a week of training with Ivoirian military diving counterparts. A mobile diving and salvage company made up of 16 divers is aboard the USNS Grasp. These type of units provide a mobile diving capability for the U.S. Navy when deployed and the American divers will conduct an exchange of information and diving techniques with divers from the Ivorian Navy, Gendarmes, Special Forces, and Military Firefighting Group. Called MDSU 2-4, the divers can perform a variety of diving missions including surface-supplied (where breathing air is provided via an umbilical cord) or SCUBA (which is an acronym for self-contained underwater breathing apparatus).
The unit has been conducting Theater Security Cooperation activities in the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) area of operations as part of its 2015 deployment. USNS Grasp participated in recent exercises in La Goulette, Tunis in May and made visits to Tangier, Morocco and Bizerte, Tunis in June. The ship is crewed by a combined team of U.S. Navy and civilian mariners from the U.S. Navy’s Military Sealift Command, which carries out most of the U.S. Navy’s logistical and support functions at sea.
The USNS Grasp is a safeguard-class rescue and salvage ship based out of Little Creek, Virginia.