Navy Clearance Divers make their mark in Fiji

This article has photo gallery Published on LEUT Will Singer (author), Unknown (photographer)

Royal Australian Navy Clearance Divers from Clearance Diving Team One and Four inspect a mooring buoy that came loose from its anchor point off Koro Island, Fiji. (photo: Unknown)
Royal Australian Navy Clearance Divers from Clearance Diving Team One and Four inspect a mooring buoy that came loose from its anchor point off Koro Island, Fiji.

Royal Australian Navy Clearance Diving Teams One and Four have recently conducted underwater repairs on an important mooring buoy, near Koro Island, Fiji.

Team Four discovered the buoy while conducting a wharf and seabed survey in support of Operation FIJI ASSIST 2016, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade-led Australian whole-of-government relief mission at the request of the Fijian authorities.
A reconnaissance diver sent below to investigate, discovered a shackle pin missing at the end of the buoy’s cable, leaving its weight as the only stability point for the mooring. 

Officer in Charge Underwater Damage Repair, Chief Petty Officer Clearance Diver Drew Mitchell of Team One said the team's priority was to repair the damage caused by Tropical Cyclone Winston.

“The lack of a secure mooring point in the jetty’s location was an extremely dangerous situation,” Chief Petty Officer Mitchell said.

“The outcome could have been catastrophic if the vessel had ended up on the reef as a result of not having a place to secure.”

Using underwater navigation systems, clearance divers identified the buoy’s original coordinates and travelled back to the site locating the large concrete flooring anchor. 

The divers reconnected the cable using inflatable lift bags, setting the buoy back in its correct position.

“The repair to the buoy was a very satisfying job,” Chief Petty Officer Mitchell said.

“The task proved the equipment and team’s capability to carry out the underwater repair job, which also turned out to be a training target that we have now achieved.

“The Fijian people have benefited from our work and we have benefited from the experience.”

Visit the Navy Website for more information on AUSCDT One and AUSCDT Four.