Australian Clearance Diving Team Four recently combined with the Western Australia Police Dive Squad, Swan River Trust, Department of Transport and Fire Rescue Service in a combined training activity. The five day training and integration activity was conducted in the Perth, Swan and Canning rivers. Each of the areas was selected to provide different training objectives and environmental conditions.
The search, identification and removal of sunken vehicles from the Swan River was one high-profile training component conducted by the divers. The Navy clearance diving detachment was assigned with the ‘heavy lifting’, which involved rigging and recovering the underwater abandoned vehicles. This activity provided exceptional training value for the Underwater Damage Repair detachment, which maintains a capability dedicated to the removal or reduction of underwater obstructions in support of humanitarian or operational missions.
Able Seaman Clearance Diver Matthew Johnston said the Clearance Divers displayed ‘good diver discipline’ during the recovery of the vehicle.
“The water conditions were tricky, with poor visibility which resulted in the dive team needing to use feeling techniques to successfully complete the job. Although we pre-plan each dive, challenges do occur and we find safe solutions on the go,” Able Seaman Johnston said.
Able Seaman Clearance Diver Luke Neil experienced the importance of cooperating with other civil services, using different capabilities to achieve joint tasks, during Operation QUEENSLAND FLOOD ASSIST.
“This combined exercise with various local authorities will prepare the diving team for future missions, similar to the Commonwealth Games and QUEENSLAND FLOOD ASSIST,” Able Seaman Neil said.
The Swan River Trust provided a front end loader to tow the vehicles onto the boat slipway. The Department of Transport supplied a support vessel and the Fire & Rescue Service provided a quick ’car-wash’ before the vehicles were removed to the scrap-yard.
The Officer in Charge of Western Australia Police Diving, Senior Constable Craig Lawson, was thrilled with the combined effort from all parties.
“I am certainly looking forward to working with the Royal Australian Navy in similar training exercises in the near future,” Senior Constable Lawson said.
Imagery is available on the Navy Image Library at http://images.navy.gov.au/S20142556.