Royal Navy divers have destroyed an historic sea mine found off the coast of Gourock on the Clyde in Scotland.
The British-made S Mk6 sea mine dating from around the time of the Second World War was discovered by a civilian diver earlier in the week who reported it to the local authorities.
Northern Diving Group were called to the scene where they investigated the six-meter long torpedo-shaped device and decided that, due to its age and uncertainty about the quantity of explosives it still contained, it would need to be destroyed.
Lieutenant Commander Tim Castrinoyannakis, Officer in Charge of the Royal Navy’s Northern Diving Unit said: “On investigation by my expert mine clearance divers I can confirm that the ordnance is a British made S Mk6 sea mine dating from either the 1940s or 1950s. “Due to the deterioration of the mine it is not possible to conclude how much explosive material it still contains therefore for the safety of the public we have decided to move it to a safer place and destroy it in situ.”
Properties within 200 meters of the location – just beyond the Grourock Lido – were evacuated by Police Scotland and Inverclyde Council as the explosive team carefully removed the mine and moved it further out to sea.
By midday the residents were allowed back into their homes while Northern Diving Group then put the mine on the sea bed and destroyed it, leaving a three meter by five meter crater on the sea bed.
Northern Diving Group are one of two Royal Navy Diving Squadron groups who provide explosive ordnance disposal across the UK. Mine clearance divers are the Service’s explosive experts who deploy on minehunter ships to provide mine clearance and also on land operations – most recently Operation Herrick in Afghanistan.