On Saturday a suspected WWII anti-shipping mine was discovered at a north Cornwall beach. The Coast Guard were alerted and explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) experts from the Royal Navy were dispatched to the scene.

The UXO turned out to be a harmless training weapon, and had been previously identified as such, a number of years ago. The fact that this object was known to the Coast Guard and a Bomb Squad still attended the scene, highlights the significance of a live anti-shipping mine find.

Can a WWII Anti-Shipping Mine be problematic?

Most historic sea mines are encountered on beaches. They are rarely found in densely populated areas and therefore are not as problematic as unexploded bombs buried under cities and towns. For example, when a live German sea mine was found at a Sussex beach last month, disruption was minimal.

However, if mines wash up close to port infrastructure the ramifications can be significant. In 2015 two mines encountered close to Calais caused the closure of the port and cancellations of multiple ferry crossings.

A Royal Navy bomb disposal team was sent to check this mine even though they had been told by the Coast Guard that it was a training weapon. You can’t be too careful when dealing with suspected UXO of this size. Had it been a live air-delivered mine, there would have been a very large associated hazard.

British WWII air-delivered mines measured approximately 9 feet by 17 inches and weighed in at around 680kg. Half of this weight was the amatol or minol HE charge; a very large quantity of explosive.

Our UXO disposal services

At Brimstone we are available for nationwide UXO disposal tasks. We can carry out high and low order demolition techniques in complex environments to tackle all explosive ordnance contamination projects. Learn more about our UXO disposal services here.

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