Croix du Sud Neutralizes Several Historic Mines in the English Channel

From 02 to 26 May 2023, the tripartite minehunter (CMT) Croix du Sud, in operation SURMINES in the Channel, discovered and neutralized several mines of the Second World War, destroying more than five tons of TNT equivalent.

On May 04, after hunting in front of the approaches to Cherbourg, a TMC (German torpedo mine with an equivalent TNT load weight of 1122kg) is discovered by the operators of the central operation. This munition was countermined on May 12 by self-propelled fish (the PAP – underwater robot remotely piloted from the CMT), at a depth of 60 meters.

On May 13, while the Croix du Sud was looking for a bomb released by a fisherman in the Bay of Seine, SONAR operators at the operations center spotted what appeared to be an LMB (German mine – 840 kg TNT equivalent), which was quickly confirmed by identification by a diver. It was destroyed on site the same day, by clearance divers, at a depth of 26 meters.

On May 16, after monitoring the approaches to Antifer, four new LMBs were discovered in front of the city of Saint-Valéry-en-Caux. As these munitions are very close to the coast and port infrastructure, their destruction requires slinging and lifting thanks to a “cow” (an air-inflated parachute that allows the ammunition to be raised between two waters), before a towing is carried out offshore to destroy them under barrels. One of them was processed on 17 May, thus making it possible to mechanize the operation, which was reproduced for the three remaining munitions on 24 May, on a single day, taking advantage of the slot courses where the current makes it possible to carry out slinging and lifting dives. Thanks to solid preparation, good management of diver potential, and excellent crew spirit, the sailors of the Southern Cross succeed in a particularly exciting operation for a CMT.