West Mersea RNLI lifeboat crew aid Royal Navy bomb disposal team
West Mersea RNLI lifeboat crew aided the Royal Navy bomb disposal team early on 2 April 2016, after a local fisherman discovered an explosive device in his net at the mouth of the Blackwater Estuary.
The West Mersea RNLI Lifeboat, Just George, was called out on 2 April at 9am at the request of Dover Coastguard to assist a Royal Naval bomb disposal team, who came from their base in Portsmouth and launched their boat from Bradwell.
The volunteer crew had been called after a local fishing vessel had found an unexploded device in its nets whilst trawling. The device was left on the sea bed in 3mof water off St Peters Flats at the mouth of the Blackwater Estuary and marked with a buoy until the Royal Navy team could attend.
The lifeboat crew were tasked to ensure no vessels entered the 1km exclusion zone around the device to ensure everybody on the water was at a safe distance.
At 10.45am the Royal Naval bomb disposal team carried out a controlled explosion to the device which they had identified as a depth charge. The explosion sent a plume of water 50 metres into the air.
Volunteer RNLI crew member Stephen Jay, who was on the lifeboat during the shout, said: ‘It’s amazing to see the work these guys do, and it was great to see such a spectacular ending.’
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Key facts about the RNLI
The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates over 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.