Artillery Shells Dredged up off Devon Coast

Bofors-Gun-300x222A trawlerman off the Devon coast dredged up 2No. unexploded artillery shells yesterday, inadvertently returning them to Brixham Harbour before calling the Police. A Royal Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) team from Plymouth removed the 3″ shells and destroyed them in a controlled explosion.

It is not uncommon for fishing vessels to dredge up unexploded ordnance (UXO) with their catch, particularly along the South Coast which was heavily-defended during both WWI and WWII by a series of gun batteries (including at Brixham itself). There were also practice firing ranges out to sea, which were used both by the regular armed forces and armed merchantmen. As such, guidance has been published by the Crown Estate on how to deal with munitions in marine sediments.

It is not always easy to predict where one might encounter UXO offshore and, therefore, adequate preparation to address any potential risk is essential.