From today, NATO mine countermeasures vessels will sail the North Sea in search of explosives from the First and Second World War. The mines and bombs pose a danger to fisheries in particular. Just yesterday, the navy brought Zierikzee in position to clear a 1,000-pounder for the harbor loop of Rotterdam. This had previously been fished up by a fishing boat.
It was an aircraft bomb that was probably dropped into the sea by the English during the Second World War. The minehunter Zierikzee first had to move the projectile 4 nautical miles (almost 7.5 kilometers). Then divers managed to detonate it safely at a depth of 27 meters.
NATO is now also helping for a week off the Dutch coast. This is done with the Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group 1 fleet. The Dutch minehunter Vlaardingen with you. This weekend the ships will call at the port of Amsterdam.
Fishing boats and other ships regularly find old explosives. They mark these and pass the location on to the Coast Guard. The Navy then destroys them from its minehunters.
In 2005, 3 fishermen were killed when a fished-up aircraft bomb exploded on board. From that year on, the Netherlands and Belgium started working together more actively in the North Sea under the name Beneficial Cooperation .
Since then, there have been approximately 2,000 reports of explosives. About 500 of these were not found. Of the 1,500 that have been cleared, yesterday’s plane bomb will go down in the books as the 1,000th thud by a minehunter of the Alkmaar class. The other nearly 500 clearances were carried out by the maritime Explosive Ordnance Disposal Service.
It is known that more than 15 explosives are still in the sea between the Netherlands, Belgium and the United Kingdom.