A TEAM of Scottish-based diving and bomb disposal experts have received a prestigious trophy for being one of the best units in the fleet.

The Royal Navy’s Northern Diving Group was presented with the Fleet Effectiveness Trophy in the category of best Fleet Diving Unit.

Rear Admiral John Weale, Flag Officer Scotland Northern Ireland, visited their unit at HM Naval Base Clyde on Tuesday, April 12 to present the award.

The Fleet Effectiveness Trophy is awarded in recognition of achievement of excellence and was awarded to the group because they demonstrated the highest standards in diving capability and performance.

Lieutenant Commander Tony Hampshire, Commanding Officer of Northern Diving Group received the award on behalf of the team of 40 clearance divers, who were most recently in action in Orkney disposing of a Second World War torpedo.

He said: “The entire team works hard in challenging conditions to keep our coastlines safe, often travelling to remote communities to dispose of ordnance left over from both World Wars.

“Having only recently joined the unit, it’s a tremendous honour to take on such a team of dedicated and motivated clearance divers who are recognised as being among the best in the Fleet.”

Last year the group was involved in safely disposing of 727 items of ordnance, travelling all round Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Twenty-nine of the call outs they received were to remote islands and peninsulas meaning that during 2015 the group covered over 25,000 road miles.

Already this year the group has performed 29 explosive ordnance disposal tasks which has included 131 items of unexploded ordnance.

The Northern Diving Group were also recognised for their underwater engineering expertise. The team conducted over 450 operational dives last year, totalling some 18,929 minutes under the water supporting the Royal Navy Fleet.

Speaking during the presentation, Rear Admiral Weale said: “My vision for Faslane is to be the 21st century home of the UK’s elite underwater forces. Your tremendous team efforts over the past year have shown how to make this vision real from a Royal Navy diving perspective and encourages other underwater specialists, whether serving in submarines or mine-warfare countermeasures vessels, to do the same.

“We can never take for granted that the Diving Specialisation, particularly with its Bomb and IED Disposal roles, is on the frontline on a daily basis. I thank you for your dedication and commitment. Congratulations to you all.”

The Northern Diving Group, which formed in 1996, are experts in a diverse range of diving tasks and Explosive Ordnance Disposal. The team cover an area stretching from the Mersey round the top of Scotland to the Humber.