REASSURANCES have been given that an unexploded military device discovered near a North Sea oil platform poses little danger.

Bomb disposal experts from the Royal Navy were asked for advice after the object was found on the seabed close to the Ninian Central Platform off Shetland.

The object is believed to be an anti-submarine device dating from the Second World War. A 75m exclusion zone has been set up to prevent vessels from sailing too close to its location and all diving in the area has been suspended.

Experts said the object did not pose a danger unless something came into contact with it. “There is no immediate risk,” a Ministry of Defence spokesman said.

The chances of the device self-detonating are thought to be remote. If it did, only infrastructure within five metres could be damaged.

The device is estimated to be about 130m from the platform, which belongs to Canadian Natural Resources.

There are about 190 people on board the rig, which according to the company is still operational.

The MoD spokesman said the Royal Navy bomb disposal team had been consulted about the device around three weeks ago.

“The item is situated close to a small infrastructural pipeline – possibly carrying electrical cables – and poses no threat to the public,” he said. “The object is three to four miles outside of territorial waters and is at 150m depth.

“As it is outside UK waters it now falls on the owner of the pipeline to sub-contract the disposal of the item to specialist divers.”