UK: Royal Naval Divers Get Award for Their Work on London 2012 Olympic Security Operation

Royal Naval Divers Get Award for Their Work on London 2012 Olympic Security Operation

Royal Naval divers from the South West have been recognised for their work on the London 2012 Olympics security operation.

Lieutenant Commander Ross Balfour, officer-in-charge of Plymouth-based Southern Dive Unit 1, was presented with an award for his leadership in ensuring on-water security during the Olympic sailing regatta at Portland, Weymouth. The unit was also presented with the Fleet Diving Effectiveness Trophy for the same event.

During a visit to the unit at Devonport Naval Base, Captain Phil Milburn, who commands all Royal Navy dive units, presented both awards.

He handed the Maritime Component Commander’s Commendation on behalf of Rear Admiral Ian Corder, (commander operations) to Ross for Operation Olympics (the Armed Forces contribution to security of the London Games).

As tactical planner Ross was responsible for the three-month operation before and during the event to ensure the regatta ran without a security hitch. The unit provided a 24-hour counter-threat response and 24-hour deterrent to any security breaches. Ross, of Plymouth, said:

“I am very pleased at being presented with this award. It was very hard work over three months for us all and I receive it on behalf of the unit as I could not have performed so well.

“without the back-up of a fantastic and capable team. We were responsible for making sure the jetties and docks were always checked and safe, so the sailors and organisers had a secure perimeter within which they could feel confident in performing at their best and a successful event could be staged.’’

During the Olympic regatta the divers were thanked for their work by Princess Anne, among other dignitaries who visited them at Portland Docks.

The Southern Dive Group’s (which includes Southern Dive Unit 2 in Portsmouth) remit includes dealing with explosive devices (improvised and conventional) on behalf of the police and Maritime Coastguard Agency on the UK coastline from south of the River Dee near Liverpool to the River Humber on the east coast including the Channel and Scilly Isles.

Their priority is public safety both above and below the high water mark. The Portsmouth unit was on security duty in London for the Olympics.

Naval Today Staff, April 23, 2013; Image: Royal Navy