UK

Norfolk crab fishermen injured when boat is blasted out of sea ‘by WWII bomb’

Seven crab fishermen were injured when their boat was blasted out of the water by a suspected Second World War explosive.

Several crew members of the 42ft boat Galwad-Y-Mor suffered life-changing injuries in the accident, 25 miles north of Cromer, Norfolk, last Tuesday.

The two British and five Latvian men were hauling in a line of crab pots when they are believed to have dredged up the unexploded munition.

The mine or bomb exploded under the water, propelling the boat completely out of the sea, before it smashed back down again.

The blast, which occurred at 11.20am, wrecked the wheelhouse and ruptured the hull, causing water to flood into the engine room.

Seven crab fishermen were injured when their boat was blasted out of the water by a suspected WWII explosive. Several crew members of the 42ft boat Galwad-Y-Mor suffered life-changing injuries in the accident, 25 miles north of Cromer, Norfolk, last Tuesday. (Above, the damaged wheelhouse of the vessel)

The two British and five Latvian men were hauling in a line of crab pots when they are believed to have dredged up the unexploded munition. The mine or bomb exploded under the water, propelling the boat completely out of the sea, before it smashed back down again. (Above, detail of the boat's shell plating damage showing coating loss and indentation between internal frames)

The two British and five Latvian men were hauling in a line of crab pots when they are believed to have dredged up the unexploded munition. The mine or bomb exploded under the water, propelling the boat completely out of the sea, before it smashed back down again. (Above, detail of the boat’s shell plating damage showing coating loss and indentation between internal frames)

A preliminary report by the Marine Accident Investigation Branch said the skipper ordered the injured crew to abandon ship.

A life-raft was launched as the boat began sinking and the injured crew were picked up by the offshore support vessel Esvagt Njord.

Three of the most seriously injured were airlifted to Hull by a coastguard rescue helicopter and the other four were taken back to shore by the Cromer lifeboat.

The four who arrived back in Cromer were treated by paramedics before being taken to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.

The abandoned 13-year-old boat which had settled low in the water was towed by the tug GPS Avenger to its home port of Grimsby where it was lifted out of the water. (Pictured, the vessel after the accident)

The abandoned 13-year-old boat which had settled low in the water was towed by the tug GPS Avenger to its home port of Grimsby where it was lifted out of the water. (Pictured, the vessel after the accident)

The MAIB report said: ‘The explosion was in the water and external to the vessel. There was nothing that the crew could have done to prevent the accident.

‘The source of the explosion has not been determined, but it was possible that old munitions on the seabed were disturbed as the vessel hauled its pots.’

The report said all crew members suffered injuries – some of them life-changing in the accident, which happened in ‘potting fishing grounds east of the Wash’.

It did not disclose the age of the munitions suspected of causing the explosion nor whether they were German or British.

It added: ‘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.

A chart showing the fishing grounds and accident location. A preliminary report by the Marine Accident Investigation Branch said the skipper ordered the injured crew to abandon ship

A chart showing the fishing grounds and accident location. A preliminary report by the Marine Accident Investigation Branch said the skipper ordered the injured crew to abandon ship

‘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.

‘He also raised the alarm by texting the skipper of a sister vessel and activating the electronic position-indicating radio beacon.’

The abandoned 13-year-old boat which had settled low in the water was towed by the tug GPS Avenger to its home port of Grimsby where it was lifted out of the water.

Pictures showed the astonishing extent of the blast damage to the wheelhouse and the plate steel on the boat’s ruptured hull.

The report said MAIB inspectors found extensive shell plating indentations and ruptures to the hull, the main engine displaced from its bedplate, and warping of decks.

There was also ‘widespread and significant levels of destruction of the wheelhouse and other internal compartments’ and upper deck fittings, but no evidence of an internal explosion.

The report added: ‘Although extensively damaged and flooded, it is almost certain that Galwad-Y-Mor stayed afloat because the bulkheads either side of the engine room maintained their watertight integrity, containing the flood.’

The MAIB said it had notified the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, the Receiver of Wreck and the Ministry of Defence and a full investigation was ongoing.


Source link

Related Articles

Back to top button