Fisherman operating off Norfolk coast are “lucky to have survived” after unexploded ordnance detonates.

Fishing boat in north sea detonates ww2 device

The seven-crew fishing vessel Galway-Y-Mor was hauling crab pots off the Norfolk coast when an unexploded WW2 bomb exploded. It is thought that retrieving the pots caused the detonation. Five crew members were injured, including one person blinded in one eye. The incident occurred on 15th of December 2020 – marine investigators report findings.

The vessel set out from Grimsby in Lincolnshire and were pulling in 100 crab pots about 22 miles off the coast of Cromer when the main line snagged. The skipper increased engine power in an attempt to free the line, shortly after followed a deafening explosion which deformed the hull and flooded the engine room.

Map of location where vessel was hit

The injured crew were rescued by a nearby safety boat sent from a wind farm four miles away. Five had suffered serious injuries. First aid was administered and the crew were taken to hospital. Two of the crew suffered broken bones, whilst another needed a plate in his skull and was blinded in one eye.

Damage to fishing vessel

The Marine Accident Investigation Branch has said “although the physical injuries were significant to five of the seven crew, they were fortunate not to be killed. The crew member working on the starboard side of the main deck could have been ejected overboard.

“It is likely that Galwad-Y-Mor crew’s formal training, emergency drills, and combined length of service prepared them to deal with this unforeseen emergency scenario and enabled them to take swift action that, undoubtably, save lives”.

Through testing fragments recovered from the scene, experts believe with a high-degree of confidence that the bomb was a WW2 German unexploded bomb.

Unexploded ordnance (UXO) litter much of the UK, including the surrounding waters. Unexploded bombs are particularly dangerous because of the size of the explosive charge and their potential to cause damage.

Brimstone is a leading provider of UXO risk management support, including explosive ordnance disposal, conventional munitions disposal, preliminary UXO risk assessment and detailed UXO risk assessments, intrusive and non-intrusive UXO surveys, UXO safety brief, UXO watching brief and borehole clearance. If you need specialist UXO support reach out to the team.