HMS Brocklesby helps clear mines off beseiged Misrata

Navy News website 5 May 2011 said:
THIS is the first, chilling image of a mine laid by Gaddafi’s forces off the beleaguered city of Misrata – and blown up by HMS Brocklesby minutes later.


Crudely tethered to an inflatable boat – sunk to serve as a makeshift ‘mooring’ – the mine packs 100kg explosive and was laid just a mile off the entrance to the Libyan port. It was one of three dumped in the waters off Misrata by pro-Gaddafi forces – who have made repeated attempts to close the port.

The city has been held by rebel forces for several weeks, but is under siege from government troops who have made concerted efforts to re-take the city on land, and to halt the flow of humanitarian aid by sea...

Defence Secretary Dr Liam Fox praised the Brocklesby team for their “vital work” off Libya. “This is helping prevent Qadhafi forces from sealing off the port to deny medical and food supplies to the people of Misrata," he added.

The mine appears to be a derivative of an old Soviet era PDY-3M contact mine. This is much less sophisticated than the 20 export versions of Soviet multiple-influence ground mines laid by the Libyan RO-RO ferry Ghat in the Red Sea in July 1984. 19 of these mines were actuated by transiting merchant ships but they were not optimised against such large, noisy targets so they exploded too far away to cause any serious damage.

This little-remembered mine clearance operation was code-named Operation HARLING. For their actions which included the detection, rendering safe and recovery of one of these mines, Lt Cdr Nigel 'Bernie' Bruen DSC RN (the CO of HMS Gavinton) was appointed an MBE and WO(Diver) Terry Settle MBE BEM (Fleet Clearance Diving Team) was awarded the Queen's Gallantry Medal (QGM).

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