asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the establishment of the Royal Marine unit, commando company, earmarked for the protection of oil rigs and other installations of national importance against terrorist attack.
An independent Royal Marine company to be known as "Comacchio company" will form with effect from 1 May 1980. The new company will enhance the Royal Marines capability to assist in the protection of certain key naval installations and activities in the United Kingdom, and will also provide the response force for incidents at offshore oil and gas installations. The com- pany will consist of some 300 all ranks. Some 50 of these will be absorbed from elements of other Royal Marine units already employed on similar duties, and steps are in hand to recruit the additional 250 men required. The company is being based initially at Arbroath in the Royal Marine barracks Condor pending a final decision on where its permanent base is to be.