Demolition experts from the Royal Navy were called to the scene as test torpedo may have contained highly flammable propellant.
EMOLITION experts rescued a fuel tanker carrying 1,000 tonnes of oil after the ship's crew accidentally pierced a torpedo with an anchor.
The vessel was on its way to deliver the fuel to Portland Harbour, Dorset, when it dropped anchor in 15 metres of water off the south-west coast of Britain.
An eagle-eyed member of the crew spotted that the anchor had caught something as it was being winched back on board.
The item turned out to be a test torpedo that was heavily corroded and thought to be a few decades old.
The crew then called the authorities who dispatched the South Diving Unit of the Royal Navy based in Portsmouth.
The team, led by Lieutenant Commander Jonathan Campbell, raced to the scene where they evacuated most of the crew.
The fuel was pumped to the rearmost holding tanks of the ship while a small group of crew members remained on board in case a fire broke out.
Lt Cdr Campbell said: "The tanker was carrying approximately 1000 tonnes of fuel or oil.
"The fuel cargo was pumped into the aftermost possible tanks to reduce the effects of any explosion, and fire hoses were charged and ready to deploy if needed.
"We directed the ship to use her other anchor to steady her, before lowering the fouled anchor, and the torpedo, to several metres below the waterline."
Specialist explosives officers then examined the munition before removing it from the anchor and safely destroying it.
Lt Cdr Campbell added: "Working parts inside the torpedo could be seen from where the anchor fluke had ruptured it.
"The entire bomb disposal team were professional and got on with the job in hand."
A test torpedo became snagged on the anchor of a fuel ship off the coast of Dorset
The rescue and disposal operation took around seven hours for the diving team to complete.
Authorities said the test torpedo was likely made in this country and used at a test range in Portland which closed in the 1980s.
Although there was no war head on the torpedo it still presented a credible threat because it could have contained highly flammable propellant.
Source: the sun. 14th October 2017