Shoreham blows up buoy to make Gulf safer

The waters of the Gulf are a little safer thanks to the crew of minehunter HMS Shoreham who blew up a wrecked buoy drifting towards busy shipping lanes.

The Bahrain-based warship was carrying out training when her captain spied a buoy bobbing in the water – not marked on any charts, unlit, difficult to see and in an area heavily used by fishing dhows.

Sailors monitored the buoy for a while to determine its drift rate and likely course based on the weather conditions… which suggested it would soon end up in busy shipping lanes.

Close inspection of the marker – used to warn mariners of dangers such as shallow waters, navigational hazards or shipwrecks – suggested it had already been hit.

It’s always good to try something a little bit different to what we train for, especially when it helps keep the seas safe

Leading Diver Liam Pulman

Having spent the rest of the day practising demolition drills to render mines safe, Shoreham’s divers used their skill and knowledge to place an explosive charge on the underside of buoy.

They withdrew a safe distance and BOOM! The errant buoy ended up on the sea bed.

“It was great to get the chance to use the skills we’ve been practising for months. It’s always good to try something a little bit different to what we train for, especially when it helps keep the seas safe,” said 38-year-old Leading Diver Liam Pulman.

To confirm it was no longer a danger, Shoreham’s team inspected the wreck using her sonar – more typically used to locate mines – and marked it on the charts for authorities.

“Ensuring the safety of shipping throughout the Gulf features prominently in the tasking of Royal Navy units in the area and Shoreham was only too happy to help keep fellow mariners safe by removing this hazard – as well as taking advantage of an opportunity to put their skills to the test,” said Lieutenant Commander Rich Kemp, Shoreham’s Commanding Officer.