Navy (RAN) Clearance Divers have always been the Australian Defence
Forces' (ADF) specialist divers and have, since the inception
of the Branch, operated all in-service diving equipment to the
full extent of its operational capacity. Nevertheless, the primary
focus of a Clearance Diver is to perform Explosive Ordnance Disposal
(EOD). This role is conducted at sea in ships, in the oceans (particularly
the vulnerable approaches to ports and anchorages), onshore in
port facilities, installations and the littoral environment associated
with amphibious advanced force operations, and currently in support
of the Australian Army during land based combat operations.
The Australian Clearance Diving community represents the largest
single ADF organisation with a direct and primary interest in
the conduct of EOD.
All personnel joining the Branch, including Officers, must undergo
acceptance testing and complete the arduous requirements of the
Clearance Diving qualification course. These demands, placed on
potential applicants, are not seen anywhere else in the ADF outside
of the Special Forces.
Indeed and as a result
of this demanding selection and training, Clearance Divers have
served in the counter-terrorist Squadrons of the SAS Regiment
for the first 15 years after that capability was established and
continue to serve in that role with the Commando Regiment, (TAG
East). Small numbers of Clearance Divers are currently serving
as EOD specialists in Afghanistan and elsewhere around the globe.
Clearance divers are also used in high risk ship boardings (such
as suspected pirate vessels currently off the coast of Somalia).
RAN Clearance divers have served in all major conflicts since
the branch was established in 1951, including Malaya, Vietnam,
Gulf War, Somalia, East Timor Intervention, Iraq War, and Afghanistan.
In the present international climate of uncertainty and widespread
threat of terrorism, Clearance Divers represent a valuable and
arguably the most flexible asset of the ADF.
Further information on clearance divers and
the RAN Clearance Divers Association can be found here.