French port closed as dem­i­ning teams de­stroy aging bombs

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL -

Ac­cess to the port of Calais in north­ern France was closed on Sun­day as dem­i­ning teams pre­pared to defuse sev­eral World War II bombs dis­cov­ered dur­ing con­struc­tion work.

Among the dis­cov­er­ies were two bombs, one of them booby­trapped, that were dropped by Bri­tish air­craft dur­ing the war, each weigh­ing 227 kilo­grams.

Con­struc­tion teams work­ing to up­grade the port last month also found 25 shells, said lo­cal of­fi­cial De­nis Gaudin.

Po­lice have marked out a dan­ger zone stretch­ing 1.5 kilo­me­ters, closing off the en­try to France’s busiest pas­sen­ger port which pro­vides the main sea route to the United King­dom for cars and trans­port ve­hi­cles.

The teams had un­til early af­ter­noon, when the tide would start com­ing in, to defuse and re­move the ex­plo­sives.

Dig­gers were cre­at­ing earth bar­ri­ers to pro­tect against the blast from the two largest bombs, which were less than 20 me­ters from an un­der-con­struc­tion pipe­line.

The booby-trapped bomb — of­ten used dur­ing the war to try kill dem­i­ning teams — re­quired spe­cial care as the ex­plo­sives ex­perts had to defuse each part with­out send­ing shock­waves or shrap­nel that would trig­ger other parts of the ex­plo­sive.

Calais is in the midst of a 650-mil­lion-euro (US$772 mil­lion) makeover to in­crease its ca­pac­ity and im­prove its rail and road in­fra­struc­ture.

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