Australian navy divers have removed an unexploded bomb on a reef and have moved it to deeper waters because of the “significant risk” it posed to the public.
The bomb was found off the southeastern coast on the Elizabethan Reef near Lowe Howe Island. A local fisherman had discovered the bomb. He clicked photographs of it and reported it to the authorities.
Divers from the navy removed the 45 kg bomb by floating it to the surface and then towing it further into the sea where it dropped into a depth of 550m deep waters.
“That depth is really safe. It’s not going to ever get washed back up onto the reef,” Senior Marine Parks Officer John Pritchard said speaking to the press. “There’s no deep-sea fishing or trawling allowed out there. It’s a recreational fishing zone only. The chances of that UXO (unexploded ordinance) ever coming back to the surface is negligible.”
Officials state how the origin of the bomb is unknown. Age of the bomb could not be figured out because of its deteriorated state. Bombs of this kind had been used in the world wars.
“The device was regarded as live by the navy and the consequences could have been quite frightening”, Environment Minister Ms Sussan Ley said.
The reef is 550km off New South Wales and is home to unique corals and different species of fishes. It has been tagged as one of the World Heritage sites. In a statement issued on Sunday, the spokesperson for Environment Minister said: “thankfully the reef’s precious ecosystem is safe and most importantly so are future visitors.”