The Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) has recently published their report into the subsea explosion that resulted in significant vessel damage and crew injuries to a 15m crab potting vessel which occurred 20nm off the coast of North Norfolk (immediately south of Cromer Knoll) in December 2020,.
While recovering a string of crab pots during daylight hours, the line became snagged on a seabed obstruction – now believed to be a WWII German 250kg high explosive air dropped bomb – which subsequently detonated on the seabed 30m below the vessel. The resulting shock wave and gas bubble from the explosion struck the fishing vessel causing extensive deformation to hull plating, the engine room to be flooded and severe shock damage to all internal compartments.
The seven crew members onboard received significant injuries, several of which were life changing, but fortunately there were no fatalities. The images below illustrate the nature of the damage incurred.
THIS INCIDENT IS A GRAPHIC REMINDER THAT ORDNANCE ARE DESIGNED TO KILL AND MAIM THIS POTENTIAL REMAINS EVEN AFTER ITEMS HAVE BEEN SUBMERGED FOR DECADES