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UNEXPLODED TORPEDO CAUSES FERRY DELAYS

portsmouth400UPDATED: An unexploded torpedo found in Portsmouth Harbour has caused delays to ferry services to and from the Island this morning (Saturday). 

The wartime explosive was discovered during the early hours of the morning, prompting the closure of Portsmouth Harbour at around 05:00.

Due to the closure, Wightlink cancelled the 06:00 car ferry sailing from Portsmouth and the 07:00 from Fishbourne, as well as the 06:15 catamaran sailing from Portsmouth and the 06:47 from Ryde Pier Head.

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National Rail also suspended all train services into Portsmouth for a time however the torpedo has now been towed clear of the harbour and out into the Solent for detonation, allowing the harbour to reopen.

Although the ferries are now running once again some minor delays are expected as the backlog is cleared.

In a statement, Wightlink have said:

“The discovery of an unexploded bomb in Portsmouth Harbour overnight delayed some of Wightlink Ferries’ early sailings this morning.

“The port was closed to all vessels at 05:00 as the Royal Navy prepared to tow the device out of harbour to carry out a controlled explosion in a safe area.

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“The 06:00 car ferry sailing from Portsmouth Gunwharf and 07:00 from Fishbourne were cancelled along with the 06:15 catamaran from Portsmouth Harbour and 06:47 from Ryde Pier Head.

“The port re-opened at 06:25 and services have now resumed as normal with the delayed 07:00 St Clare sailing from Portsmouth Gunwharf.

“Wightlink apologises for this delay to its sailings this morning”.

It is currently unknown at what time the detonation will take place.

UPDATE @ 08:45 – An initial attempt to detonate the warhead by the Royal Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal team has failed. It is understood the charge successfully detonated, but not the torpedo itself.

Divers are now expected to reassess and attempt a second detonation.

UPDATE @ 10:15 – The torpedo, which is said to be 4ft long, is now thought to have been safely detonated off the North East coast of the Island.

Portsmouth Harbour is fully open, however Wightlink ferries are running with delays of up to 30 minutes.

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