The Divers Group (AGRUMERG, Portuguese: Agrupamento de Mergulhadores) is the Portuguese Navy's diving unit. It was created in 2004 through the grouping of the several already existing diving subunits, to exercise administrative, logistical and operational control and management, over all diver units and personnel. It groups under a single command, all previously existing Sappers Divers Units (EOD/Combat Divers, Salvage/SAR, MCM/MW) and Services (Training and Logistics).
The Divers Group is a command, within the Portuguese Navy Subsurface Squadron, and is commanded by a senior naval officer.
- Operations Cell
- Diving Service (Serviço de Mergulho) - Logistics
- Divers School (Escola de Mergulhadores) - Training
- Sappers Divers Detachment No. 1 (Destacamento de Mergulhadores Sapadores N.º1 - DMS1) - EOD / Combat Divers
- Sappers Divers Detachment No. 2 (Destacamento de Mergulhadores Sapadores N.º2 - DMS2) - Salvage / SAR
- Sappers Divers Detachment No. 3 (Destacamento de Mergulhadores Sapadores N.º3 - DMS3) - Mine Counter-Measures / Mine Warfare
The first notice of the employment of combat divers by Portugal occurred in 1580, during the War of the Portuguese Succession. In that occasion, Portuguese combat divers attacked the enemy Spanish ships that were in the Tagus, in order to damage their hulls.
In the scope of the Overseas war in Portuguese Guinea, the Portuguese Navy detected the use of naval mines by the enemy forces of the PAIGC. To deal with that threat, in 1966, the No. 1 Sappers Divers Section was created and deployed to Guinea. In 1968, the No. 2 Sappers Divers Section is also created.
In 1972, the two sappers divers sections are transformed in two larger sappers divers detachments (DMS, destacamentos de mergulhadores sapadores). The DMS continue to be assigned to the Navy's Guinea Maritime Defense Command due to the operational imperatives of its activities.
The DMS were disbanded in 1975, after the end of the Overseas War. Afterwards the operational activity of the divers was assigned to the Navy's Divers School.
The Sappers Divers Detachment No. 1 (DMS1) was reactivated on 1 June, 1988, because there was a need of an operational unit specially dedicated to the military diving area. Public interest activities, namely salvage diving and search-and-rescue were still assigned to the Divers School.
When, on 1 January, 1995, the DMS2 was reactivated (with twenty elements instead of thirteen), all operational activity was assigned to the detachments, with Divers School becoming only dedicated to the instruction activities.
In 2004, the Sappers Divers Group is created, grouping the DMS1, the DMS2 and the Divers School under a single Command.
A divers unit focused in mine warfare is created in 2008, this being the Sappers Divers Detachment No. 3 (DMS-MW).
The Sappers Divers Group is under the command of the Portuguese Navy Submarine Squadron.
The missions assigned to the Sappers Divers Detachments, under the Divers Group command, are:
- Tactical coastal reconnaissance and obstacle clearing for the landing of amphibious forces.
- Underwater defensive and offensive operations, at sea, in the shoreline, in river access, and in port facilities, against enemy positions and naval assets.
- Explosive Ordnance Disposal (Conventional and IED).
- Salvage diving operations, namely survey, repair and recuperation of naval units.
- Search-and-rescue operations.
- Co-operation in the control of activities linked to the seabed.
- Co-operation in the scientific study of the sea.
High-profile operations conducted by the unit: