A fuel tanker reportedly dropped its anchor accidentally and pierced a torpedo with its anchor.
The demolition experts were called in to rescue a tanker carrying 1,000 tonnes of oil after the ship’s crew accidentally pierced a torpedo with an anchor. The tanker was enroute to deliver the fuel to Portland Harbour, Dorset, when it dropped anchor.
Anchor pierces torpedo:
When the crew members dropped anchor they noticed that the anchor was stuck on something hard. Fortunately, a crew member caught sight of the torpedo when the anchor was pulled back. The item turned out to be a test torpedo that was heavily corroded and old.
Royal Navy rushes to scene:
The South Diving Unit of the Royal Navy based in Portsmouth was alerted by the concerned crew members. The team, led by Lieutenant Commander Jonathan Campbell, rushed to the scene and evacuated the crew members.
Fuel pumped to the back:
The 1,000 tons of fuel present onboard the vessel was pumped to the rearmost holding tanks of the ship while a small group of crew members remained on board in case a fire broke out.
Lt Cdr Campbell said, “The tanker was carrying approximately 1000 tonnes of fuel or oil. The fuel cargo was pumped into the aftermost possible tanks to reduce the effects of any explosion, and fire hoses were charged and ready to deploy if needed. We directed the ship to use her other anchor to steady her, before lowering the fouled anchor, and the torpedo, to several metres below the waterline”.
Torpedo removed and destroyed:
The Specialist explosives officers the corroded ammunition, removed it and safely destroyed it.
Lt Cdr Campbell added, “Working parts inside the torpedo could be seen from where the anchor fluke had ruptured it. The entire bomb disposal team were professional and got on with the job in hand”.
Suspected to be a test range torpedo:
The rescue and disposal team successfully completed the job in seven hours. Authorities said the test torpedo was likely made in this country and used at a test range in Portland which closed in the 1980s.
Although there was no war head on the torpedo it still presented a credible threat because it could have contained highly flammable propellant.
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Source: The Sun