An unexploded aerial bomb that was brought over to Singapore inadvertently in a load of sand from Vietnam has finally been disposed of, after more than a month.
On Saturday, bomb experts from the Singapore Armed Forces transported the 2m-long, 227kg war relic from a sand barge, where it was discovered, to the southern island of Pulau Senang - a military live-firing area - and detonated it there.
The seven-hour operation was a culmination of about three weeks of delicate attempts to reach the explosive, which was buried deep in sand, and a wait of over a week for the right tidal conditions at Pulau Senang so that naval vessels could land.
Airspace clearance was also required to ensure the safety of aircraft during demolition.
For over a month, the Singapore-registered barge, KNB 1, was held at the Sudong Explosive Anchorage, which is designated for the loading or discharging of dangerous goods.
It was moved there from the waters off Tuas on July 20, two days after the barge's crew spotted the bomb, which had jammed the vessel's conveyor belt.
A safety zone was established around the barge for bomb experts to assess if the barge could be moved safely.
Major Teo Chee Wee, commanding officer of the 36th Battalion, Singapore Combat Engineers, said the position of the ordnance, limited space and the V-shaped hull of the barge made it a challenge to expose the bomb so it could be assessed.
After the bulk of the sand was removed, the bomb was assessed to be unarmed and safe for handling.
On Saturday, the bomb was transferred, using a marine crane, to an amphibious vehicle on a Fast Craft Utility (FCU) vessel.
Such vessels are usually used to ferry troops and equipment.
Escorted by the Police Coast Guard, the FCU travelled about 3km to Pulau Senang, where the amphibious vehicle then conveyed the bomb to a designated disposal site.
An Explosive and Ordnance Disposal (EOD) team then performed a controlled explosion of the war relic, which was identified as a US Mk 82 General Purpose Bomb.
The coast guard established a safety cordon around the waters off Pulau Senang.
The whole operation involved seven EOD personnel and 20 navy personnel.
Weapons and equipment editor Kelvin Wong of military publication IHS Jane's said: "Several million tonnes of ordnance - such as cluster munitions, unguided bombs and rockets - were expended by the United States military during the Vietnam War.
"Some of these weapons, including MK 82 bombs, have either penetrated soft soil, sand, or sediment, but failed to detonate and remain buried until they are discovered."