UK: HMS Ledbury Finds Historic Sea Mine
HMS Ledbury has found the remains of a German sea mine from World War 2 on the very first day of her deployment.
The mine was found by HMS Ledbury during a period of training to ensure the Royal Navy mine hunter is ready to operate as part of the Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group in the Mediterranean.
The German Mine Type ‘C’, referred to as a ‘GC’ by the tight knit and highly trained mine-warfare team onboard, was found in Weymouth Bay and does not present an immediate hazard to public safety.
“As soon as the camera of our Seafox remotely operated vehicle panned onto the contact it was obvious that the explosive fill had been eroded from the casing,” explained the Operations Officer, Lieutenant Lee Funnell.
“We saw a conger eel looking back at us from the round hole that would have contained one of the fusing mechanisms of the mine.”
Unfortunately worsening weather prevented the Ledbury team from dealing completely with the mine.
Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Commander Justin Hains, said he was pleased with his team’s performance.
“Finding historic ordnance and rendering it safe is a core role of the NATO Group, so I am pleased to establish our credentials so early in the deployment. The GC is one of the largest historic sea mines and can still present a very real danger, especially to trawlers or when washed up on beaches.”
The task of removing the mine is likely to fall to the Explosive Ordnance Disposal experts at Southern Diving Unit 1, based in Plymouth. The Royal Navy has three area Clearance Diving Teams, based in Plymouth, Portsmouth and Faslane that are ready 24 hours a day to deal with any ordnance washed up on beaches or found at sea.
HMS Ledbury is one of eight Hunt-class Mine Countermeasures Vessels that comprise the Second Mine Countermeasures Squadron based in Portsmouth.
Press Release, May 13, 2013; Image: Royal Navy