Training deepens for clearance divers

This article has photo gallery Published on LEUT Mitchell Hosking (author)

Location(s): Jervis Bay

Topic(s): Diving Teams, HMAS Huon (M82), HMAS Yarra (M87)

Clearance Divers from HMA Ships Huon and Yarra conduct dive training on the mine counter-measures “Stealth” diving set in Jervis Bay. (photo: Unknown)
Clearance Divers from HMA Ships Huon and Yarra conduct dive training on the mine counter-measures “Stealth” diving set in Jervis Bay.

Clearance Divers from minehunters HMA Ships Huon and Yarra recently conducted a week of deep dive training using some more unconventional but operationally important equipment.
 
The specialists donned the ‘stealth’ dive set which uses a mix of nitrogen, helium and oxygen. It allows divers to operate at deeper depths and provides them with greater endurance at depth to complete missions.
 
Over the course of the week, divers paired up and completed various drills and training scenarios.
 
Chief Petty Officer Clearance Diver Darren Smith who supervised the training said the ship divers have to be prepared to conduct a range of mine-counter measure missions.
 
“In an operational context, a diver might be required to conduct a solo dive, with the mission to locate, identify and then disarm or dispose of explosive ordnance like buoyant or ground mines that present a threat to shipping.
 
“We go into areas where conventional mine hunting methods aren’t possible, like entrances, anchorages and sea approaches to amphibious landing sites,” Chief Petty Officer Smith said.
 
“This can be dangerous work, which is why we conduct such high levels of training and ensure our personnel maintain the skills necessary to do the job.”
 
Day and night dives at depths of up to 30 metres were conducted at numerous locations around Jervis Bay.
 
“Teamwork is essential to every diving mission. Each diver has to put the task and team needs above their own. This work is demanding and demands personnel that are prepared and competent,” Chief Petty Officer Smith said.
 
“It also creates a strong bond and sense of camaraderie.”
 
Each of Navy’s Minehunters includes Clearance Divers as part of the capability to counter the threats to commercial and military shipping.