Fishermen Find Something Unexpected, Then the Navy Arrives


Well, well, look what the net dragged in… Navy bomb disposal experts were called to the dock at New Bedford, Massachusetts, when a scallop boat hauled something interesting in on Thursday, July 22. The fishermen weren’t sure what it was but knew it was definitely not a scallop. It also looked like it might blow up, taking their ride back to shore with it. They decided to call it a day and radio for help.

Fishermen land explosive catch

Scallops are clam-like mollusks that get harvested by boats dragging “dredges or trawls” behind them to “scrape the ocean floor.” All sorts of junk comes up in every load. Explosive weapons aren’t something the fishermen find every day though. Once the specialists got a look at it they gave the all clear.

Officials “did not say precisely where the ordnance was found or where it was brought ashore but shared a photo of the item on the ground. It appeared to be rusted-over.”

The Massachusetts State Police confirm that “an explosive ordnance disposal specialist from the U.S. Navy and members of the state Bomb Squad” were checking out whatever the fishermen found and tasked with getting rid of it.

An update Friday verifies that the “rusted shell” they found “does not pose an explosion risk.” After visual and X-ray inspection they were able to determine that “it is a 57mm armor piercing projectile.” It has been “secured and will be turned over to the military for disposal.”

One hundred pounds of live explosives washed up on shore.

The fishermen were totally right to play it safe. Something similar happened recently in North Carolina, only that one was packed with 100 pounds of live explosives. Michele Quidley was walking her dog near the historic Cape Hatteras Lighthouse when fido “discovered the encrusted device ‘high on the shoreline.'”

It looked “like a ‘torpedo’ Qudley describes.” By the time she got closer, what she thought was a log turned out to be “made out of metal” and it had fins. Authorities quickly established “a safety perimeter measuring approximately a half mile” around the bomb.

Intentional detonation

After the object was determined to be a WWII era “aerial bomb” they cleared the area, warned the residents and told everyone including fishermen to back off while they intentionally set it off. Everyone scrambled to ready for the blast, then waited.

The promised detonation “had to be put on hold due to a local fire.” Residents spent half the day waiting for the “window shaking explosion.”

According to David Hallac, the Superintendent for National Parks of Eastern North Carolina, explosives washing up on the beach are something that happens once in a while. “The discovery” of a stray military device or two “is not uncommon along the Outer Banks.”

Leftover live artillery rounds from the Battle of Gettysburg, found in a library closet.

That’s exactly why “Cape Hatteras National Seashore visitors should always be on the lookout for beach hazards, especially during and after periods of rough surf.” It’s not uncommon for fishermen to haul explosives up in their nets or fouled in their lines.

Fishermen aren’t the only ones at risk of blowing themselves up at work with suddenly discovered explosives. Even librarians aren’t safe. Her very first day on the job, Gleason Public Library director Abby Noland had to call the bomb squad.

When she looked inside the closet of her new office she found some old Civil War relics. Touchy ones. They turned out to be live artillery rounds left over from the battle of Gettysburg. “The state bomb squad later arrived and determined the shells were live. It took the shells to the town transfer station to safely detonate them.”