Royal Navy Divers Destroy WWII Torpedo in Orkney
- Operations & Maintenance
Royal Navy bomb disposal team detonated a WWII torpedo found during a routine seabed survey in Scapa Flow, Orkney.
The torpedo is likely to have been one of those fired at HMS Royal Oak, as the battleship lay at anchor in Scapa Flow in 1939, Royal Navy wrote. The attack by the German U-boat U47 sank the Royal Oak with the loss of 833 lives.
Lying in around 35 meters of water, the torpedo was first spotted during a sonar survey carried out by SULA Diving on behalf of Orkney Islands Council Marine Services.
A Royal Navy Explosives Ordnance Team from the Northern Diving Group examined the torpedo on the seabed on March 01, and drawn up a plan for its safe disposal.
The divers, on a return visit to Orkney, attached explosives to the torpedo on the seabed. When detonated, a section of the torpedo containing its own explosive charge broke free and appeared on the surface.
“From our first survey, it was clear that there was no immediate threat to shipping, so we marked the location so that we could return to safely dispose of the torpedo when the conditions were more favourable,” explained Lieutenant Commander Tony Hampshire, Commanding Officer of Northern Diving Group.