Commander of the Navy Chief Guest at 50th anniversary celebrations of SLN Diving and Salvage Unit

The Commander of the Navy, Vice Admiral Ravindra Wijegunaratne was the Chief Guest at the 50th anniversary celebrations of the SLN Diving and Salvage Unit held on 26th October 2015 in Trincomalee. The Deputy Chief of Staff and Commander Eastern Naval Area, Rear Admiral Neil Rosayro, the Flag Officer Commanding the Naval Fleet, Rear Admiral Dayananda Nanayakkara, the Commander Northern Naval Area and Chairman of the Organizing Committee, Rear Admiral Piyal de Silva, several senior naval officers attached to the Naval Headquarters and members of the SLN Diving Association were also present on the unique occasion along with retired Lieutenant Commander T Somasundram, who had flown all the way from Australia to be the Guest of Honour of the Golden Jubilee celebrations, being the founder of the unit, which has recorded tremendous successes in a range of challenging tasks.

The Commander of the Navy in his speech stated that the SLN Diving and Salvage Unit has evolved over the years to become one of the most professionally competent diving arm in Sri Lanka. Today, the unit has taken a lead role in imparting diving skills to Commando and Special Forces personnel in the Sri Lanka Army as well. He also paid tribute to the members of the SLN Diving and Salvage Unit for leading the amphibious landings prior to the formation of the Navy’s elite Special Boat Squadron and serving the nation with dedication at the most crucial times during the three-decade long conflict, clearing sea mines, checking all ships and craft for possible Limpet mines and salvaging sunken ships. The Commander also commended their continued assistance to the public and during major natural disasters and humanitarian assistance, making the Navy proud of their valuable service.

The celebrations commenced with a two-minute silence in honour of the fallen war heroes followed by a stage drama and a diving display. The Commander of the Navy laid the foundation stone for a new boat yard and unveiled the diving statue erected to coincide with its 50th anniversary celebrations. The official web site of the SLN Diving and Salvage Unit was also launched, enabling public access to its illustrious history and wide ranging activities.

The Sri Lanka Navy Diving and Salvage Unit was founded in 1965 by five pioneering divers under the leadership of then Lieutenant T Somasundaram with minimum resources. Its proud legacy is being carried forward by successive diving officers and sailors with many achievements that speak volumes of their dedication and commitment to uphold the ideals of true professionalism. The golden jubilee celebrations provided an ideal opportunity for the reunion of the divers produced by the Sri Lanka Navy in different eras and the family members of the diving officers and sailors who made the supreme sacrifice in the line of duty.