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25/03/03 - War on Iraq section

K-DOG the minehunter
By Harriet Arkell, Evening Standard

This is K-Dog, the coalition forces' most surprising weapon against Iraq.

With a camera strapped to his fin, the bottle-nose dolphin is one of about 100 dolphins and sea lions helping to clear shipping lanes in the Gulf to ensure a safe passage for vessels, including those which will provide humanitarian relief.

K-Dog and his handler Sgt Andrew Garrett are part of a multinational team, CTU-55.4.3, consisting of Naval Special Clearance Team One, Britain's Fleet Diving Unit Three, Australia's Clearance Dive Team, and two Explosive Ordnance Disposal units.

A Pentagon spokesman said: "The team works in both deep and shallow waters, looking for mines and marking them. Dolphins have been used like this by the US Navy for more than 30 years, and have proved themselves more reliable than robots."

He said that unlike robots, the dolphins did not run out of power, nor did they go missing or have problems communicating from the sea bed.

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2003 Associated New Media