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Nazi-era mine washes ashore in Sweden
A file image of a WWII-era German mine in Australian waters

Nazi-era mine washes ashore in Sweden

Published: 10 Jan 2012 08:15 GMT+01:00
Updated: 10 Jan 2012 08:15 GMT+01:00

Bomb experts from the Swedish military have been called in to disarm what is believed to be a live, World War II-era German mine that washed ashore near Sundsvall in northern Sweden.

The mine was discovered at the weekend on the shoreline near Lörudden, south of Sundsvall, an area popular with summer tourists.

Police believe the mine likely washed ashore in the wake of winter storm Dagmar, which battered much of Sweden over the Christmas holidays.

“It can be an intact mine and thus there is a risk that any further tampering could cause it to detonate,” Swedish Armed Forces spokesperson Philip Simon told the local Sundsvalls Tidning newspaper.

On Monday, bomb experts from the Swedish navy examined the mine and concluded it likely contained live explosives.

They believe it to be an EMA-type contact mine used by the Germans during World War II.

A navel munitions successfully disarmed the mine on Tuesday.

“We're going to try to split it with a charge to see what's inside,” Jonas Hedman of the fourth naval combat flotilla told the TT news agency prior to the operation.

A 1,200 metre safety perimeter has been set up around the mine and a helicopter was sent to patrol the area with a heat-sensing camera to ensure no one was nearby.

Experts warned that the mine could have contained an 150 to 220 kilogrammes of explosives, but as it turned out there were no explosives in the mine.

A similar, empty mine, floated up on shore in Åkersberga outside of Stockholm at the weekend.

TT/The Local/dl (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

08:42 January 10, 2012 by karex
This sounds a bit fishy. Where are they coming from? If they were still chained to the bottom, then it would be a major risk to shipping. For two to show up means there must then be an undiscovered "cache" still in place and armed.

But wouldn't we have heard about incidents of of ships hitting them in recent times if this were the case? And for TWO to show up almost at the same time?

Sounds more like someone is trying to scare people and has been releasing these things on purpose. In this case, it's a joke in very bad taste.
09:16 January 10, 2012 by caradoc
@karex

I think the idea of someone "trying to scare people and has been releasing these things on purpose" is a little crazy , perhaps you have been reading to many Len Deighton spy books.

There are many munitions laying around all over the world left over from WW2.
09:57 January 10, 2012 by Kevin Harris
@Karex

Relax. These things pop up all the time, there are hundreds of them still lurking down in the deep. The entire centre of Cologne was evacuated last month while a huge British bomb laying in the river was defused - much bigger than a naval mine. The recent severe storms have washed them loose from their ancient moorings. Most of them still contain explosives, but usually the detonation systems have stopped working. Each one still has to be taken seriously, you never know, one might still be working after all this time. My compliments to the men and women in the militiary who have to defuse them. Good luck guys. Free beer in the bar tonight.
12:43 January 10, 2012 by manotick
At least it didn't blow up a Russian submarine.
12:57 January 10, 2012 by karex
Yes but why would the Germans in wartime go through the trouble and expense of mooring an empty mine? Does that make sense? Of what use could an empty mine be?
13:38 January 10, 2012 by Kevin Harris
@Karex

If it is empty now, it probably wasn't empty when it was laid. The explosive contents can sometimes decompose, or leak out. It's safest to treat them all as primed and ready to go bang. In 2010 three German experts were killed, and six badly wounded defusing a British bomb. Each expert had personally defused between 600 and 700 bombs previously. It's a serious business.
16:18 January 10, 2012 by Tanskalainen
@Karex For the same reason that General Lee strung emplacements of fake wooden canons in northern Virginia. They fooled General Macellan(sp) and the empty mines probably fooled the Royal Navy and they were cheaper than the real thing.
18:30 January 10, 2012 by dunx
I like the line:

A navel munitions successfully disarmed the mine on Tuesday.

a) I think they mean naval, not navel.

b) It makes no sense either way. Perhaps missing the word expert, as in "a naval munitions expert successfully disarmed the mine on Tuesday"?
07:41 January 11, 2012 by Céitinn
@Tanskalainen

The funny thing is the Royal Navy would not have been in the Baltic because the Germans had it blocked off by occupying Denmark and Norway.

I would suggest it was more likely to combat a Russian threat from the east where they had occupied countries but even then they could have entered Scandinavia from Finland in to Norway or Sweden.

In any case, as it is a mine and would have been floating for all these years it does make you wonder where it has been. Maybe it came in from the North Sea?
08:24 January 11, 2012 by karex
#7 The only problem I see with your reasoning is that putting up fakes to fool someone works well when they are possible to be seen. Mines were deliberately kept as hidden as possible in order to catch the ships by surprise, as far as I understand at least. Weren't most moored to remain just under the surface?

The explanation from #6 makes more sense to me: that the explosive material leaked or decomposed in some way and that's how it could have become empty.
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