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French Port Closed Following WWII Bomb Discovery

Port of Calais

Published Jun 8, 2015 12:35 PM by Kathryn Stone

France’s busiest passenger port was closed until midday Sunday due to the discovery of WWII bombs.

The Port of Calais, which handles around 30,000 people per day crossing the English Channel, shut down operations June 7 after two WWII bombs washed ashore. There were no sailings from the port for approximately 7 hours as explosion experts raced against the clock to diffuse the bombs before the tide came in.  Diggers were also called in to create sand barriers to protect a newly constructed pipeline less than 100 feet from where the bombs were located.

Authorities stated that the explosions could pose a danger to anything inside the one mile exclusion zone, which included the port. My Ferry Link reported two cancellations yesterday and P&O Ferries advised travelers to postpone their journeys saying that anyone affected by the closure could rebook free of charge.

The two bombs were dropped by Britain’s Royal Air Force in WWII as part of an extensive campaign against the German-held Calais.  They had remained buried for over 70 years until recent construction at the port unearthed them. 

A team of French army explosive experts safely detonated the bombs during the port closure and by about 2:30pm operations had resumed.

Currently, the Channel port is undergoing a 650m-Euro ($730m) expansion project to increase capacity and improve infrastructure. The bombs are part of a larger discovery of 25 WWII explosives unearthed during the renovation project.