Royal Navy bomb disposal team deals with WWII device in River Thames
Tuesday, Feb 13, 2018
Royal Navy bomb disposal experts are working alongside the Metropolitan Police to safely remove a Second World War device found in the River Thames.

The 500kg ordnance was discovered in the George V Dock during pre-planned work at London City Airport on Sunday morning (Sun 11 Feb 18). The device has been examined by Metropolitan Police and Royal Navy diver teams and is confirmed as being a 500kg tapered end shell measuring approximately 1.5m.

The Royal Navy's team of expert bomb disposal divers, from Portsmouth-based Southern Diving Unit 2, are on permanent standby to deal with unexploded ordnance.

Lieutenant Commander Jonny Campbell, the officer in charge of Southern Diving Unit 2, said: "Our priority is safety to life which is why the airport has been closed as a precautionary measure.

"We are taking the necessary steps to ensure the device is as safe as possible before we remove it from the sea bed and tow it away to a safe disposal site.

"We will then attach high-grade military explosives before carrying out a controlled explosion. The aim is to cause as little disruption to the city of London as possible."

The device is lying in a bed of dense silt and the first stage of the removal operation is to free the shell from the silt so it can be floated for removal.

The operation to remove the ordnance is ongoing in partnership with between the Royal Navy and Metropolitan Police. The timing of removal is dependent on the tides.

While every effort is being made to progress the operation as quickly as possible, it is important that all of the necessary steps and precautions are taken to ensure it is dealt with safely. Every effort is being made to minimise disruption and Met Police officers continue to go door to door to ensure those living within the exclusion zone are aware of the safety arrangements in place.

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