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Royal Navy divers destroy wartime bomb found 60m from North Sea gas pipe

PUBLISHED: 12:44 19 November 2017 | UPDATED: 08:35 20 November 2017

Royal navy divers detonated a 500lb bomb which was found 60m from a gas pipeline in the North Sea. Photo: Royal Navy

Royal navy divers detonated a 500lb bomb which was found 60m from a gas pipeline in the North Sea. Photo: Royal Navy

Archant

A team of Royal Navy divers have detonated a 500lb Second World War bomb dropped 60m from a major North Sea gas pipe.

The bomb was discovered by a Dutch fishing trawler. Photo: Royal NavyThe bomb was discovered by a Dutch fishing trawler. Photo: Royal Navy

HMS Cattistock and a team of expert divers raced to the location 50 miles off the coast of Norfolk after being alerted.

A Dutch trawlerman dredged up the device onto his fishing vessel, after it was caught in his nets.

He lowered it back to the seabed, and reported it to the authorities.

But when he dropped the bomb, it landed on the seabed just 60m from a major gas pipeline.

The team arrived on the scene within 24 hours of being alerted, and the divers lifted the device from the sea bed, and towed it one mile away, before detonating it with an explosion.

Due to the bomb’s age, it was inert and no longer posed a threat.

Petty officer Lee Sullivan said: “The proximity of the bomb to the gas pipeline presented significant risk but we were able to deal with the situation quickly.

“We removed the bomb from the pipeline area, and carried out a controlled demolition.

“Fortunately the bomb turned out to be inert, but there was no way of knowing this until we destroyed it.”

Lieutenant Commander Charles Wheen, the ship’s commanding officer said: “This is exactly the sort of task HMS Cattistock and the Royal Navy’s expert divers are trained to do and we worked together to deliver a safe outcome.

“I’m very proud of the team and how they managed to resolve this potentially dangerous situation.

“It’s a great example of the importance of teamwork, but I hope it also serves as a reassuring demonstration of how the Royal Navy stands by around the clock to secure the sea around Britain.”

The bomb disposal divers assessed the device on November 15 and confirmed it was an air-dropped bomb, likely to have been dropped by Germans in the Second World War.

They safely removed it from the sea bed the following afternoon, and towed it to a safe area one mile away from the pipe.

A final dive was conducted to place an explosive charge on the bomb, and after detonating the charge and destroying the bomb, it was found to be chemically inactive.

HMS Cattistock has been in service since 1982.

Southern Diving Unit 2, specialists in maritime bomb disposal, is responsible for explosive ordnance disposal at sea around Britain.

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