Felixstowe bomb cost £20,000
DEALING with the massive world war two bomb which washed up on Felixstowe beach cost more than £20,000 it was revealed today.The Royal Navy said its costs amounted to around £19,000, and on top of this were the costs of the police and council in evacuating part of the resort and setting up a refuge for the night.
DEALING with the massive world war two bomb which washed up on Felixstowe beach cost more than £20,000 it was revealed today.
The Royal Navy said its costs amounted to around £19,000, and on top of this were the costs of the police and council in evacuating part of the resort and setting up a refuge for the night.
A mobile police station was also based in the town and a fleet of ambulances in case the bomb - which was said to have the power to devastate an area up to half a mile in land - went off.
The Royal Navy - which initially lost the bomb and then spent several days tracing it - revealed its costs after a Freedom of Information request by the Evening Star.
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The force revealed that it spends around £1.5 million a year dealing with washed up UXBs around the country's coastline.
At Felixstowe, 12 officers worked on the bomb operation.
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Manpower cost £8,500, food and accommodation £7,400, fuel for vehicles £1,900 plus £1,000 in fuel for the sea-search boat, and £100,000 of stores.
Navy spokesman Mike Demetriou said the navy bomb disposal team cost around £3m a year to run.
“The unit undertakes other tasks as well as munitions disposal operations, such as underwater engineering tasks, exercises and work-ups to maintain operational capability,” he said.
“Munitions disposal operations are estimated to account for 45 per cent of the unit's tasking.
“However, identifying the precise cost of undertaking munitions disposal is not possible without significant administrative effort to trawl back through expenditure records.”
The bomb disposal team was called in after sea defence workers found the 1,000lb bomb on the beach off Sea Road.
But as the bomb was being towed out to sea to be detonated, it vanished, leading to a week-long search for it.
The team had to work by touch in zero visibility below the waves, forced to check every single object which Remus - a £250,000 unmanned underwater vehicle - spotted on the seabed.
At the time the navy defended the cost of the operation, saying if the officers were not at Felixstowe they would be on a similar mission or exercise elsewhere.
Do you the cost of disposing of the bomb was reasonable? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk
FASTFACTS: Felixstowe bomb . . . the story
The bomb was found on Felixstowe's south beach by sea defence workers at 6am on April 21 - after it was spotted scooped up in a digger bucket.
Royal Navy experts were called and when they saw the size of it said if it went off it could flatten the whole of the resort's West End area and cause damage as far as half a mile inland.
Around 1,200 people had to be evacuated from their homes - spending the night at friends and relatives, and Brackenbury Sports Centre.
On Tuesday the bomb disposal squad towed it out to sea - but lost it about two miles out in ten to 12 metres of water after a strop broke on the tow.
Despite a succession of dives it was not possible to find the weapon, which divers said had been “temporarily misplaced” due to technical and mechanical failures.
Reinforcements were summoned - a remote controlled vehicle, extra divers and Remus, a computer programmed unmanned underwater vehicle which sweeps the seabed and photographs every object it finds - and it was found and exploded on April 29.