A Royal Navy minehunter HMS Cattistock and a team of divers have destroyed a 500lb wartime bomb which was dredged up and dropped next to a major North Sea gas pipeline.
The bomb was found 50 miles off the coast of Norfolk after a Dutch trawlerman pulled the air-dropped WWII device onto the deck of his vessel caught in fishing nets.
The trawlerman lowered the device back down to the seabed before reporting his discovery to authorities but the bomb landed dangerously close to a major North Sea gas pipe, Royal Navy informed.
On arrival, the Royal Navy divers lifted the device from the seabed, towed it for one mile, and then detonated it with an explosive charge.
Petty Officer (Diver) Lee Sullivan, from the Royal Navy’s Portsmouth-based Southern Diving Unit 2, said: “The proximity of the bomb to the gas pipeline clearly presented a significant risk but we were able to deal with the situation quickly.
“We safely removed the bomb from the pipeline area, and then carried out a controlled demolition. Fortunately the bomb turned out to be inert, meaning it wouldn’t have posed a danger but there was no way of knowing this until we destroyed it.”
HMS Cattistock located the bomb using the ship’s remotely operated vehicle. The embarked bomb disposal divers went down to assess the device and confirmed it was an air-dropped 500lb bomb, likely to have been dropped by Germans in the WWII.
It was lying 60 meters from the pipeline.
Constrained by the tide, the bomb disposal team attached a lifting device to the bomb to safely remove it from the seabed and tow it a safe area one mile away from the pipe.
After lowering the device and removing the lifting cradle, a final dive was conducted to place an explosive charge on the bomb. After detonating the charge and destroying the bomb, it was found to be chemically inactive.