Ship's Anchor Pierces Old Torpedo

Dorset, United Kingdom sailors aboard Merchant tanker ship, Skaw Provider, were surprised to find an old torpedo caught in the ship's anchor while raising the anchor from outside Portland Port. The flute of the anchor pierced the torpedo exposing the interior components of the ordnance.

The ship's captain notified the Coast Guard who responded with technical support provided by an EOD team from the Royal Navy's Southern Diving Unit based in Portsmouth. Due to safety concerns from the UXO, the ship was evacuated of all non-essential personnel and fuel was pumped from the ship's tanks that were close to the torpedo before EOD began their operations.

Ship Anchor

According to a statement from Lieutenant Commander Jonathan Campbell of the Southern Diving Unit, they "directed the ship to use her other anchor to steady her, before lowering the fouled anchor, and the torpedo, to several meters below the waterline." The Commander's statement also noted that "Working parts inside the torpedo could be seen from where the anchor fluke had ruptured it."

Once the torpedo was below the waterline, it was safely removed from the flute and towed to a safe area where it was sunk and destroyed in a controlled disposal operation. EOD identified the heavily corroded British test torpedo. Further research indicates that the British torpedo was part of a former test range that was active in the Portland Harbor area into the 1980s.

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