Royal Navy team blows up German mine

BLAST Navy destroys German mine
BLAST Navy destroys German mine
HMS Duncan's Navigating Officer, Lieutenant Jen Cory
Photo: LPhot Paul Hall

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ROYAL Navy bomb disposal experts have blown up a huge German mine.

The 1,500lb Second World War device was dredged up last Friday by the vessel Congo River about seven miles off Walton-on-the-Naze, Essex.

A team from Southern Diving Unit 2 in Portsmouth were faced with an initial precarious task of detaching the parachute mine from the vessel before laying it safely on the sea bed.

They then had to wait until Tuesday for safe weather to send a diver down to the device and attach explosives.

Lieutenant Commander Al Nekrews, who led an eight-man team during the operation, said the controlled explosion created a 300ft plume.

‘The weather and sea state in the region were extremely poor for a few days but thankfully it improved a lot and we were able to crack on with the task,’ he said. ‘The mine was in excellent condition – in fact it was still shiny – but the dredger had pierced its skin so this was a delicate task for the team.’

Lt Cdr Nekrews praised Chief Petty Officer (Diver) Ian Fleming and Leading Diver Matt Baker for their efforts in safely detaching the mine from the vessel.

He added: ‘This type of device is not uncommon, particularly in that part of the world.

‘There are still tens of thousands of unaccounted-for pieces of ordnance from the Second World War still scattered throughout northern Europe.’