Southern Diving Group

The Southern Diving Group is comprised of two Area Clearance Diving Units. Southern Diving Unit One (SDU1) is located in Plymouth and SDU2 located in Portsmouth.

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Consisting of up to 60 Royal Navy Clearance Divers and supporting specialists, this Group is comprised of two Area Clearance Diving Unit’s. Southern Diving Unit One (SDU1) is located in Plymouth and SDU2 located in Portsmouth, both of whom collectively meet  a broad range of standing commitments and at present, three key missions:

The first is a long standing commitment to provide Military Diving and Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD), or Bomb Disposal, Aid to the Civil Powers, such as the Home Office, Police and Coastguard, as well as counter IED support in the South Eastern and Southwestern sectors of the UK.

Stretching 1400 miles, our area of responsibility begins from the Highwater mark in Hull and proceeds seaward to the Territorial limit and runs clockwise around the British Isles, including the Isle of Wight, Channel Islands, and Isles of Scilly, to finish in Liverpool.

Many of these areas were subject to heavy bombing in WW2, and today we continue to be tasked with a large array and quantity of ordnance that would otherwise present a significant danger to the public and critical national infrastructure, both on the foreshore, at sea, and on occasion, inland.

Secondly, as the Fleet Diving Squadron’s specialists in Maritime EOD, we also hold small teams at high readiness to deploy to the reaches of the Globe to support the Royal Navy’s wide and varying scope of operations.
Thirdly, and with special reference to 2012, the Group have been requested to provide their “Niche,” skills and capabilities of Maritime EOD, to support the Government’s National Olympic Security Plan. This will see the Group’s teams operate in a number of key locations throughout the Games period, helping to support the Civil Powers and help ensure a safe and successful Olympic Games.

Helping to support the vast majority of the Fleet both in the UK and abroad, we also provide a standing In Water Maintenance and Repair (IWMAR), and Battle Damage Assessment and Repair (BDAR) capabilities. These are regularly put to the test, employing sophisticated life support equipment to safely do so.

Diverse in capability and ever ready to deploy, this Group, akin to many of the teams in the Fleet Diving Squadron, have a broad range of clearance diving, EOD and salvage skillsets that are brought to bear as routine business.

Fleet Diving Group in action

Royal Navy denotes World War Two mine


Southern Diving Group Latest News

Royal Navy Divers clear wartime rocket

Royal Navy Divers clear wartime rocket

Royal Navy divers host Norwegian colleagues underwater

Royal Navy divers host Norwegian colleagues underwater

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Commanding Officer Al Nekrews

Lt Cdr Al Nekrews

Rank: Lieutenant Commander

Lieutenant Commander Al Nekrews joined the Royal Navy as a rating in 1989, initially serving as an Air Engineer. In 2002, Al completed Warfare Officer training at BRNC Dartmouth. In 2006 he attended the Mine Warfare and Clearance Diving Officer (MCDO) course. He assumed Command of Southern Diving Group (SDG) in August 2014.

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Command of Fleet Diving Squadron Chris O'Flaherty

Rank: Commander

Commander Chris O'Flaherty joined the Royal Navy in 1987. He assumed his current Command of the Fleet Diving Squadron in February 2014, where he is responsible for the Royal Navy’s UK and global underwater search, engineering and bomb disposal capabilities.

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Mine Clearance Diver

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Collectively the units cover 1,400 miles.

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