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What caused fishing boat explosion off Norfolk coast?

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Seven crab fishermen were rescued by the RNLI, the coastguard and volunteer vessel Esvagt Njord when their boat was severely damaged in an explosion.

The explosion happened off the Norfolk coast just before Christmas, and it has left some of the seven men critically injured.

It is believed the fishermen likely netted a WWII mine or bomb, and it detonated beneath their boat, the Galwad-Y-Mor.

According to the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB): “Galwad-Y-Mor was operating in potting fishing grounds east of the Wash.  At about 1120, the crew was in the process of hauling in a string of crab pots; the skipper was in the wheelhouse with other crew members below decks working the pots.  The hauler was being used to heave in the back rope, and the crew had let the skipper know that there was a lot of tension on the line, when there was an unexpected explosion.

“Galwad-Y-Mor was thrown up from the sea surface, then landed heavily back down; all propulsion and electrical power was immediately lost.  The skipper was injured and dazed, but conscious, and saw that the wheelhouse had been completely wrecked. 

“As he became aware that other crew members had been badly injured and that the engine room was flooding, the skipper ordered the crew to abandon ship.” 

After the dramatic crew rescue, the boat was towed to Grimsby, and once lifted ashore the MAIB was able to assess the damage.

It is clear there was nothing the crew could have done to prevent the explosion – and our thoughts are very much with them and their families.

However, this story serves as a stark reminder that unexploded ordnance lurks beneath the sea and in our waterways in the United Kingdom. 

Whilst it is hugely uncommon for fishermen and women to net explosive threats, anyone planning intrusive works or work on a sea or riverbed is advised to request an unexploded ordnance risk assessment ahead of operations.

At SafeLane Global our risk assessments identify which sites on and offshore are at high risk of encountering ordnance.  And as an end-to-end service provider, where risk is expected, we can mitigate it.  

Don’t leave it to chance, trust us to keep you and your staff safe, request your risk assessment today

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