The Norwegian Navy, as every year, made preparations for exercise FLOTEX 21. The manoeuvres were organised in the north of the country, in the area of the famous port of Narvik. Therefore, according to the accepted scenario, the minesweeper KNM Hinnøy was to check the readiness of the coast before the whole fleet arrived on the spot.
During FLOTEX 21, we always exercise based on external threats. Both this and the demanding winter conditions meant that we had to be alert at all times – said KNM Commander Hinnøy, Lieutenant Captain Alf Johnsen.
As a result of the investigation, the sailors from KNM Hinnøy they located an object on the bottomthe shape of which left no doubt. On closer inspection, which they carried out using an ROV submersible vehicle, the suspicions were confirmed. The cameras provided an image of an old torpedo that had probably been lying on the seabed since the Battle of Narvik in 1940.
The Battle of Narvik involved 35,000 men, of which as many as 8,500 died as a result of the fighting. The strategic importance of the Norwegian port of Narvik was reflected in the fierceness of the clashes. Both sides of the conflict realised that an ice-free port was the key to the supply of iron ore from Sweden, an essential raw material for the production of weapons and munitions.
In addition to people, a whole lot of equipment was lost in the clashes for Narvik. Today the area is a real el Dorado for wreck divers. It is one of the few places in the world, where during one dive you can see two, and with a DPV scooter even three wrecks. There is also no shortage of “souvenirs” of a smaller calibre. One of them is a torpedo discovered by the Norwegians.
We were in the middle of an exercise when we discovered we had hit something that wasn’t an exercise object. We sent a ROV to inspect it using video cameras. After we took a closer look at the object, we were no longer in doubt. We then informed the command that we had found a World War II torpedo – Johnsen said.
In one scenario, the minesweeper was to clear the route and Narvik harbour of mines. All this to ensure that the entrance of the other ships was safe. So the sailors laid out several training objects that mimicked the threat. It was while clearing the area of dummies that the specialist team discovered a torpedo on the bottom.
The torpedo has been lying on the seabed for more than 80 years without causing any damage, but it is certainly not harmless. Admittedly, there must be many unfortunate coincidences for it to explode. However, it is best not to take any risks. Especially as there is as much power in it today as there was in 1940. – explained KNM Captain Hinnøy.
As experts have explained, the torpedo is located in a place where many ships entering Narvik anchor. There is therefore a potential danger that, after accidentally hitting the anchor, the missile would explode. In such a situation there could be serious consequences. The dangerous find will now be removed by the Norwegian Navy and sappers.
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