Alert over 'unexploded shells' in Sheerness Harbour

Thirty-nine people were evacuated from two vessels in Kent after suspected unexploded shells were found.

A 100m exclusion zone was also put around Sheerness Harbour on Saturday afternoon after two separate calls.

The first call came from a catamaran which had an 18in by 5in shell on its deck at about 14:00 BST.

At 15:30 BST, a 90m cable layer reported having a 12in by 4in shell on board. The shells were later declared safe by Royal Navy experts.

When the calls were made to Sheppey Coastguard its rescue team went to the scene while the Thames maritime rescue co-ordination centre liaised with the Portsmouth-based Navy explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) unit.

Karen Paradise, watch manager with Thames maritime rescue centre said both shells had been declared safe.

Ms Paradise said: "Now that EOD have declared the two shells to be safe, the exclusion zone has been lifted and the crew have returned to their vessels."

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites