Unexploded Gourock sea mine sees residents evacuated

A Royal Navy Bomb disposal Team in the Firth of Clyde. Picture: HeMedia
A Royal Navy Bomb disposal Team in the Firth of Clyde. Picture: HeMedia
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Hundreds of residents in Gourock were today forced to leave their homes so a decades-old sea mine could be removed.

The device, found on the seabed off the coast of the Inverclyde town, was believed to be a sea mine from the 1940s or 50s.

Picture: HeMedia

Picture: HeMedia

It was yesterday slowly transported upriver by specialist bomb disposal teams from the Royal Navy, where it was examined and destroyed in a controlled explosion.

Residents within 200 metres of the device - found at the local swimming pool - were evacuated from 8am in the morning and returned to their homes in the afternoon.

Several streets were also closed to traffic, ferries and trains cancelled and residents who lived further away from the device were given instructions on how to stay safe.

The bomb was moved further into the sea by 2pm and the town centre was reopened a short time later, with police later thanking local residents for their patience.

Due to the deterioration of the mine it is not possible to conclude how much explosive material it still contains

Lieutenant Commander Tim Castrinoyannakis

The Royal Navy continued to work within the water until later in the afternoon, when teams destroyed it in a controlled explosion.

An exclusion zone was in place in the water until 4pm.

Police patrols also continued throughout the rest of the day in Gourock.

Chief Inspector Elliot Brown, Local Area Commander for Inverclyde said: “Following a number of discussions with Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) and Inverclyde Council, it has been decided that in the interests of safety, a removal operation of the device will take place.

Picture: HeMedia

Picture: HeMedia

“This will include the requirement of an evacuation of a number of residents in the immediate vicinity, within 200 metres of the device’s location.

“I must stress that this evacuation is a precautionary measure, and that there is no immediate danger posed to the community of Gourock.

“I understand the disruption that this might cause some local residents however, we are working with our partners to ensure that this disruption is kept to the absolute minimum.

“Safety is our priority above all else, and this is why the decision to evacuate some residents has been taken.”

Lieutenant Commander Tim Castrinoyannakis, Officer in Charge of the Royal Navy’s Northern Diving Unit said: “On investigation by my expert mine clearance divers I can confirm that the ordnance is a British made S Mk6 sea mine dating from either the 1940s or 1950s.

“Due to the deterioration of the mine it is not possible to conclude how much explosive material it still contains therefore for the safety of the public we have decided to move it to a safer place and destroy it in situ.

“We have been working closely with the local authorities throughout and would like to thank the community for their patience.”