When the crew of the Maltese-flag oil/chemical tanker Skaw Provider, 4,300dwt, raised the anchor from 15m off Portland, Dorset, they were startled to find an unexploded and badly corroded Royal Navy torpedo caught on one of the flukes.
Members of the Royal Navy’s Portsmouth-based Southern Diving Unit 2 were dispatched to the ship on Oct 14 where they immediately evacuated the majority of the crew. Six, including the Master, stayed on board ready to fight any fires that could break out.
Lieutenant Commander Jonathan Campbell, in charge of the diving unit, said: “EOD Operators treat these items as ‘live’ and hazardous until it can be disproved otherwise. Working parts inside the torpedo could be seen from where the anchor fluke had ruptured it.
“The tanker was carrying approximately 1,000 tonnes of oil. The cargo was pumped into the aftermost possible tanks to reduce the effects of any explosion, and fire hoses were charged and ready to deploy if needed.
“We directed the ship to use her other anchor to steady her, before lowering the fouled anchor, and the torpedo, to several metres below the waterline.
“Once the torpedo was released, the team then took it to a safe area, lowered it to the seabed and destroyed it.”