Lowestoft RNLI Lifeboat helps Navy with unexploded wartime shells

Lifeboats News Release

In testing sea conditions a Suffolk RNLI lifeboat crew was called to help Royal Navy divers to deal with two wartime projectiles that had been brought up from the seabed by a dredger

Royal Navy Diver on Lowestoft RNLI Lifeboat preparing to board the dredger to deal with unexploded ordnance

RNLI/Thomas Rashbrook

Royal Navy Diver on Lowestoft RNLI Lifeboat preparing to board the dredger

Lowestoft RNLI Lifeboat crew were called on Saturday 13 February to escort a team of Royal Navy divers in a rib to deal with two wartime shells that had come up with sand and silt into a dredger working off the east coast

With a south easterly wind blowing at near gale force 7, temperatures just above freezing and seas with a two – three metre swell, the vessels set out in the early evening to rendezvous with the dredger - but the conditions proved too dangerous for the rib and a second attempt was planned the following day

Lowestoft Lifeboat Coxswain John Fox said, “On Sunday morning the weather and sea conditions had not improved so we decided to take the two navy divers to the dredger in our lifeboat ‘Patsy Knight’.

The 100 metre long Belgium registered Hopper Dredger had travelled from Ijmuiden in the Netherlands to work in a position 42 miles off the east coast when they realised that they had brought up some wartime ordnance

Royal Navy diver Bryant said “We travelled from our base at the Royal Navy Southern Diving Unit Two in Portsmouth after the UK Coastguard alerted us to the situation.

The crew of Lowestoft Lifeboat kindly took myself and a colleague to the dredger which had moved to a position seven miles due east of Lowestoft. Once on board the dredger we were shown the two projectiles that were four inches in diameter and 16 inches long. They were on top of sand in the main hopper bin and appeared to be in poor condition.

We decided to put them into sand bags with extra sand to give weight and lowered to the seabed with a marker attached. We recorded the position and intend to come back at a later date to deal with them.”

The dredger was then able to continue its journey to Amsterdam and Lowestoft lifeboat, with its Royal Navy passengers, returned to its moorings

Ends

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Mick Howes, Lowestoft RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer
01502 562488 / 07814 468917 email mickhowes@hotmail.com

Clare Hopps RNLI Regional Media Officer (North East & East), Tel 07824 518641 Clare_Hopps@rnli.org.uk

Jim RIce, RNLI Regional Media Manager, Tel: 07810 658 072. Jim_Rice@rnli.org.uk

For enquiries outside normal business hours, contact the RNLI duty press officer on 01202 336789. For enquiries outside normal business hours, contact the RNLI duty press officer on 01202 336789

RNLI/Michael Howes

Royal Navy Divers at Lowestoft RNLI Lifeboat Station
The Hopper Dredger that brought up wartime ordnance from the seabed

RNLI/Thomas Rashbrook

The Hopper Dredger that brought up wartime ordnance from the seabed

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