Royal Navy warship destroys undersea weapons off Libya


British warship HMS Bangor has destroyed two undersea explosive devices whilst carrying out NATO operations off Libya.

After exploding a 1,000-kilogramme mine on the sea bed near the key port of Tobruk using a Sea Fox drone, the minehunter also found a torpedo that also had to be destroyed.

HMS Bangor’s skipper, Lieutenant Commander Neil Marriott, said: “To find two pieces of ordnance and destroy them safely is a great result for my ship’s company. We have been hunting for mines since June, working from port to port, and a success like this means shipping into Libya is that much safer.”

Both weapons were spotted by a mine warfare team working in Bangor’s darkened operations room. They scan sonar screens which show shadows and shapes on the sea bed.

Ops room supervisor Petty Officer Steve ‘Stirling’ Moss said: “When we’re mine-hunting we have several people watching the screens for any contact.
“On this task we saw several items which looked about the size of a mine, and two of them turned out to be real.
“It’s not a regular thing to happen, so we’re really pleased we found them and we were able to destroy them.”

Bangor’s 38-strong crew have been part of Operation Unified Protector since taking over from the minehunter HMS Brocklesby, which blew up a mine near Misrata.

She has now moved away from the Libyan coastline with a Dutch minehunter and Canadian frigate, but is ready to return if needed.

HMS Bangor was deployed to the Mediterranean to relieve the HMS Brocklesby in early June.

HMS Bangor is one of seven Sandown Class minehunters, and is based at HM Naval Base Clyde in Faslane, Scotland.

Built of glass-reinforced plastic, HMS Bangor’s design ensures that the ship is extremely quiet and has a very low magnetic signature, essential when operating in a minefield.

Equipped with the precise navigation and manoeuvring systems, which allow her to ‘hover’ over a fixed point and search for mines with a variable depth sonar – capable of detecting ordnance at depths in excess of 200 metres, Bangor can also deploy her clearance divers or advanced submersible to deal with mines or suspicious objects.