Royal Navy bomb disposal experts carried out a controlled explosion of an unexploded WWII mine found by a Marine Scotland research boat in the Firth of Clyde.

Seven crew members had to be evacuated Troon Lifeboat and Rothesay Coastguard Rescue Team after the "pristine" vintage bomb was discovered among a net full of fish they had hauled onboard. 

The vessel, with the suspected ordnance onboard, was sailed to Ettrick Bay on the Isle of Bute to meet with the navy's Northern Diving Group (NDG) on Monday.

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After examination, the item was confirmed as being a Second World War German submarine-laid mine, containing around 350kg of explosives.


The "pristine" WWII mine

The bomb was lowered to the seabed before experts carried out a controlled explosion on Tuesday.

Lieutenant Commander Mark Shaw, Commanding Officer of Northern Diving Group, said: “Considering it had been in the water for around 80 years, it’s condition was remarkable.

“From the initial pictures we were able to easily identify the Mine Type and importantly determine that the explosive fill was intact and therefore presented a significant hazard.

“The vessel was diverted to Ettrick Bay and met by my team, led by Petty Officer (Diver) Robert McCann who safely dealt with the situation.”

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He continued: “Items of this size are relatively uncommon, however, NDG are approaching 100 call-outs this year supporting civil authorities with all types of Explosive Ordnance Disposal, ranging from mines and torpedoes to hand grenades and improvised devices.  On average, across the UK, Royal Navy Clearance Divers are tasked once a day for EOD assistance.

“This highlights the remaining presence of historic ordnance.  Even small items can be unstable and present an explosive hazard; carrying-out a controlled explosion is the only safe way of dealing with them and neutralising the hazard.

“If anyone comes across a suspected piece of ordnance they shouldn’t interfere with it and immediately contact the emergency services.”