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PORTSMOUTH-BASED bomb disposal firm Ramora UK has safely destroyed a Second World War sea mine near a North Sea gas pipeline.

The British moored mine, containing up to 500lbs of explosive, was next to Shell’s pipeline about 60 miles out from St Fergus at a depth of about 300ft.

The 280-mile long gas pipeline carries about 22m cubic metres of gas each day, which accounts for around five per cent of all UK gas imports.

The mine was first discovered by the Royal Navy in 1993, which advised that it should be left where it was.

But Shell recently decided to remove the device and called in experts from Romara to blow it up.

The company, which is based in Southampton Road, Paulsgrove, said the operation was a success.

Romara UK’s managing director, David Welch, said: ‘Being selected to carry out an operation of this scale is particularly gratifying for us as it highlights the extent to which our full EOD capabilities are being recognised.’