Sub-sea explosion near Cromer - report issued by MAIB

Sub-sea explosion near Cromer - report issued by MAIB
Galwad-Y-Mor low in the water. Credit: Andrew Oliver

The Marine Accident Investigation Branch has issued its report about the explosion on the sub-sea explosion near Cromer on 15th December.

The 15m crab potting vessel Galwad-Y-Mor was hauling pots in the North Sea approximately 22 miles north-east of Cromer on 15th December when the crabbing gear disturbed a 250kg unexploded WWII bomb, which detonated on the seabed below the vessel.

The ensuing explosion caused a shock wave that threw Galwad-Y-Mor about, resulting in significant injuries to five of the seven crew and major damage to the vessel’s hull and machinery. Despite their injuries, Galwad-Y-Mor’s crew were able to send a distress message, launch the liferaft, and board rescue boats that had been dispatched by a nearby offshore support vessel. The injured crew were transferred to hospital by helicopter and RNLI lifeboat. They were treated for head, back and knee injuries. 

Galwad Y Mor was successfully salvaged and has been rebuilt.

The report identified the following key safely issues:

  • Unexploded ordnance (UXO) can be highly volatile even after many years of being submersed. In the event of encountering a UXO, seafarers are advised to follow the recommendations in MGN 323 (M+F) Explosives Picked Up At Sea.
  • Galwad-Y-Mor’s crew could not have anticipated the fouling of a bomb in the potting string and the resulting explosion; their training, experience and emergency preparedness improved their chances of survival.

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