HMAS Gascoyne conducts mine clearance off Lord Howe Island

Divers from the Royal Australian Navy minehunter, HMAS Gascoyne, set a new diving record during deep water diving operations training off Lord Howe Island.

Three divers from the Huon class ship, augmented by two divers from sister ship, HMAS Yarra, worked up to achieving 60 metre diving capability on mixed gas breathing apparatus.

The drill was conducted over several days, allowing the divers, time to become familiar with their equipment and underwater conditions as dive depths increased each day.

Gascoyne’s Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Commander Alan Parton, said that the achievement was a milestone in mine-counter-measures diving.

“The dive set a new record for Gascoyne clearance divers,” he said.

“Previously the deepest series of dives at Lord Howe Island were to depths of 50 metres by recreational divers.

“This demonstrates that the Royal Australian Navy now has a proven and reliable mine-counter-measures deep diving capability.”

On completion of the training, Gascoyne returned to Lord Howe Island for a short break before continuing across the Tasman.

The Huon class minehunters of the Royal Australian Navy play a vital role in protecting ships, harbour and infrastructure from the threat of sea mines. Originally designed in Italy as the Gaeta Class for the Italian Navy, the RAN Huon Class has been modified to suit Australian conditions, including improved accommodation and mine hunting capabilities.