US Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 5 Det. Marianas conducted a controlled burn of a Japanese sea mine on the morning of May 9.
After Joint Region Marianas received a request for assistance from Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands Gov. Eloy S. Inos, six EOD technicians flew from Guam to Saipan May 7.
Detachment Officer in Charge Lt. Nick Matics and Senior Chief (EWS) Explosive Ordnance Disposal Warfare Specialist Brian Fitzgerald investigated the sea mine and identified it as a World War II Japanese Type 93 JB sea mine containing 220 pounds of explosives. Due to the sensitivity of the mine, Matics and Fitzgerald advised the local government that it was unsafe to transport and advised local agencies that a controlled burn was the safest method to deal with the mine in its location.
Over the next 24 hours, the team worked with the support of the government and local agencies to set up barriers around the mine in order to protect personnel and property in the event that the explosives detonated during the operation.
On the night of May 8, after all physical protective barriers had been set, local law enforcement evacuated the immediate area. At 3:40 a.m. the next morning, the EOD technicians conducted a controlled burn of the sea mine. After confirming that it was safe to transport, the team prepared the mine for movement to a predetermined location where they conducted a final disposal of any remaining hazards.
Image: US Navy