The Second World War device was found at 5am Wednesday morning by a barge dredging the harbour – part of a raft of infrastructure upgrades taking place in readiness for the arrival of the Royal Navy's new 65,000-tonne aircraft carrier.
The bomb was towed out to open waters 1.5 miles east of the Isle of Wight where a controlled explosion took place at 4pm. Shipping movements were restricted while the device was towed out through the harbour entrance.
Commander Del McKnight, the Commanding Officer of the Royal Navy's Fleet Diving Squadron, said: “Everything went smoothly and we were pleased to be able to get the operation completed in daylight today. Despite being old, these devices still pose a very serious threat when they are moved.
“Last year we had more than 450 call-outs around the UK so this is really business as usual for us. We’ve had more call-outs to Portsmouth than we would usually see, because of the extent of the dredging works being done to make way for HMS Queen Elizabeth, but we have teams on standby at 10 minutes notice around the UK ready to deal with these things.”
Millions of pounds have been spent on works to prepare Portsmouth Naval Base to accommodate the Royal Navy’s two new aircraft carriers – HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales.
Dredging operations are underway to deepen the main channel used by shipping in Portsmouth by one metre. New power facilities are also being built, navigational aids installed and jetties upgraded to take the carriers alongside.
Source: UK Royal Navy