An unexploded World War Two bomb has been removed from Portsmouth Harbour after it was discovered early this morning.
15:01 on 16 November
An old World War Two German bomb that was dredged from the sea bed earlier this morning in Portsmouth Harbour has been safely removed by the Royal Navy’s Explosives Ordnance Team.
Pictures of the bomb were tweeted by the Second Sea Lord, Vice Admiral Jonathan Woodcock OBE this afternoon.
The discovery of the 500lb bomb was reported to the UK Coastguard this morning shortly before 6am by the Queen’s Harbour Master (QHM) after it was dredged from the sea bed by a dredging vessel.
As a safety precaution, Hampshire Police evacuated homes and businesses near the Portsmouth Harbour area.
Strategic Gold Commander for the UK Coastguard, Mark Rodaway, said: “This ordnance appears to have been left over from WWII and has remained for many years undisturbed on the seabed.”
“We are treating it as potentially unstable and in order to keep to the public safe, we are working with Hampshire Police and the Queen’s Harbour Master to evacuate a large section of the Portsmouth harbour area – including Gunwharf Quays, Old Portsmouth and The Hot Walls. We will try and keep people informed of the situation as it develops,” he added.
UK Coastguard established a temporary restricted air space around the affected area.
An exclusion zone was also in place in the harbour.
A controlled explosion is planned 1.5 miles off the eastern Isle of Wight later today or early tomorrow.
13:17 on 16 November
An exclusion zone is in place in Portsmouth Harbour after a World War Two bomb was found.
The 500lb German bomb was discovered at 5am on 16 November, 2016, close to Victory Jetty during dredging work ahead of the arrival of the Royal Navy’s new 65,000-tonne aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth.
A similar incident happened at the end of September, when a bomb was discovered by a dredging barge.
In a statement, the Royal Navy said that plans are underway to destroy the bomb.
“As a precaution a 500-metre cordon is in place around the barge. The device has been safely moved further into the harbour to allow Portsmouth’s continental ferry port to temporarily re-open,” said the statement.
The plan is to tow the device out of the harbour later today when tidal conditions permit.
The Captain of Portsmouth Naval Base, Bill Oliphant said this was the third piece of historic ordnance found in the harbour during the dredging works since September.
“Again we are working with Hampshire Constabulary to ensure we deal with this incident in the safest way possible, at the same time causing least disruption to the city,” he stressed.
Some Naval Base employees have been moved to buildings outside the cordon.
Portsmouth Historic Dockyard is closed all day.
Royal Navy bomb disposal experts have inspected the device and a plan is in place to tow it out of the harbour and destroy it in open waters off the eastern Isle of Wight.
The timing is dependent on tidal times and conditions.
The Royal Navy said every effort will be made to keep disruption to a minimum while the bomb is towed out.
The bomb’s discovery has resulted in disruption to some ferry services.
Work on new lights, which will guide the new Queen Elizabeth class carriers safely into Portsmouth Harbour, is nearing completion.
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