Sea mines discovered on training exercise

MINEHUNTER HMS Blyth
MINEHUNTER HMS Blyth

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A MAJOR maritime exercise ended with a bang when Royal Navy minehunter vessels encountered two genuine pieces of Second World War ordnance.

Minehunters HMS Blyth and HMS Grimsby discovered the unexploded ordnance lying on the seabed, while taking part in the navy’s biannual war games Joint Warrior, in the waters around Loch Ewe, Scotland.

After neutralising a US Mark 12 mine, the force, which included minehunters from the UK, Netherlands and Norway, finished off the exercise by disposing of a Second World War German mine, conducting a controlled explosion of the 70-year-old bomb.

Commander David Bence, who headed the Mine Warfare Battle Staff during Joint Warrior, said: ‘The exercise has been a gratifying period of training for my staff, who have proved themselves ready for operational deployment abroad. Working with our international partners is of great benefit to all involved, and dealing with real ordnance alongside a well-developed, complex exercise scenario is always satisfying.

‘It certainly underlines how cohesive and capable we are as a mine counter-measures community.’