Pristine mine detonated by Royal Navy

Royal Navy bomb disposal experts detonated a wartime mine trawled up in the Firth of Clyde. This comes after the Troon RNLI was tasked with assisting the 68m Marine Scotland survey vessel that discovered it.

After a rendezvous with the vessel to the north east of the Isle of Arran, seven non-essential personnel were transferred to the lifeboat. With the transfer complete, the lifeboat returned to Troon and the vessel continued on its passage while being monitored by Belfast Coastguard.

The Royal Navy’s Northern Diving Group met the survey vessel at Ettrick Bay on the Isle of Bute.

The divers declared the mine, which still contained around 350kg of explosives, to be in pristine condition and decided a controlled detonation at sea was the best solution. It was lowered to the seabed before a controlled explosion took place.

It’s believed the mine was laid by a German submarine off the island of Ailsa Craig.

“Considering it had been in the water for around 80 years, the mine’s condition was remarkable,” says Mark Shaw, commanding officer of Northern Diving Group.

“From the initial pictures we were able to easily identify the mine type and, importantly, determine that the explosive fill was intact and therefore presented a significant hazard.

“Items of this size are relatively uncommon, however, the group are approaching 100 call-outs this year supporting civil authorities with all types of Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD), ranging from mines and torpedoes to hand grenades and improvised devices.

“On average, across the UK, Royal Navy Clearance Divers are tasked once a day for EOD assistance. This highlights the remaining presence of historic ordnance.  Even small items can be unstable and present an explosive hazard; carrying-out a controlled explosion is the only safe way of dealing with them and neutralising the hazard.”

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