Trawler Brings Up WWII-Era German Mine off Normandy

The Stenaca II (file image)

Published Jan 20, 2020 5:43 PM by The Maritime Executive

On Sunday afternoon, French Navy EOD specialists flew out to meet a trawler that had snagged an unwanted catch - a WWII-era naval mine.

At about 1340 hours Sunday, the Regional Operational Center for Surveillance and Rescue (CROSS) Jobourg received word that the fishing boat Stenaca II had accidentally caught a 1940s-era explosive device and hauled it on board. The Stenaca II was located about six nautical miles east of Saint-Vaast, Normandy, a small port near Cherbourg. CROSS Jobourg informed the French Navy's maritime prefecture for the English Channel, Premar Manche, which inmediately called for a team of mine-clearing divers. 

At 1355 hours, Premar Manche activated the Caïman helicopter stationed at Maupertus with three GPD Manche explosives experts on board. Once on board the Stenaca II, given the bad weather and the difficulty of keeping the ammunition on board, the mine-clearing divers decide to throw it back into the sea and address it later. The munition was the remains of a German Navy BM 1000 mine - an air-dropped parachute mine with a 1,500 pound explosive charge. 

The maritime operations center in Cherbourg issued an urgent broadcast to warn mariners and fishermen in the area. 

Premar Manche thanked the fishing boat's crew for handling the mine properly and contacting the authorities. The agrency advises all mariners that aged objects recovered at sea or on the beach in the area - which is, after all, the scene of the D-Day landings - could potentially be explosive devices. Above all, it is important to report them and not leave them for someone else to find. 

"Releasing historic gear into the water without consulting the maritime authorities represents a significant risk-taking, not only for the fisherman, but also for the sailors who may in turn trawl the same gear," Premar Manche cautioned.