Mine to be removed from Amsterdam port waters on Wednesday

An unexploded 600-kilo German mine dating from World War II is to be removed from the waters of the IJ in Amsterdam on Wednesday.

The German mine has been at the bottom of the IJ near Java Island since the war and surfaced during recent dredging work. It was returned to the seabed while the disposal plan was hatched.

The mine will first be loaded aboard a ship by the bomb disposal unit. This delicate operation will take about 90 minutes. The ship will then move slowly east to the IJsselmeer for detonation underwater. The entire exercise will take between 10 and 12 hours, the port authority said.

Shipping in the eastern port area will be halted for a short period of time and officials will set up safety zone of 150 metres during the operation. The Oranje locks will be closed to the public including pedestrian and bike routes during the operation. The Schellingwoude bridge will also be closed to road traffic when the ship carrying the mine is in the area.

The mine probably rolled into the sea alongside the docks from a flat-decked barge as part of an overall German plan to render the port unfit for the approaching Allied forces in 1944. Another theory is that the mine fell into the sea when a German seaplane crashed in the area.

The operation will be moved to Thursday in the event of unfavourable weather.

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