Royal Navy bomb disposal experts have been called in on Wednesday morning to deal with another unexploded Second World War device found in the entrance to Portsmouth Harbour.
The German SC250 bomb was found in the early hours of February 22 in the excavator head of a barge dredging the harbour – part of a raft of infrastructure upgrades taking place in readiness for the arrival of the Royal Navy’s new 65,000-tonne aircraft carrier.
Divers from the Royal Navy’s Portsmouth-based Southern Diving Unit 2 are on the scene. They are working alongside the Ministry of Defence Police, Portsmouth City Council, Hampshire Constabulary, the Queen’s Harbour Master and other organisations to ensure public safety and minimise disruption.
Portsmouth Harbour was temporarily closed to vessels until about 7.30am when it was deemed safe to reopen.
This type of Second World War German SC250 bomb weighs 500lb and contains 290lb of high explosives, the Royal Navy said.
This is not the first time dredging works are unearthing historic ordnance in the harbour. Last week, a British-made Armstrong Whitworth munition was found in the excavator head of a barge dredging the harbour. While bombs were disposed of on several occasions, workers also unearthed a historic cannon, a number of anchors and other interesting glass and ceramic objects.
Millions of pounds have been spent on works to prepare Portsmouth Naval Base to accommodate the Royal Navy’s two new aircraft carriers – HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales.
Dredging operations are under way to deepen the main channel used by shipping in Portsmouth by one metre. New power facilities are also being built, navigational aids installed and jetties upgraded to take the carriers alongside.