The UK has seen prolific growth in the marine energy industry in both UK and European waters. Construction activities including the installation of wind turbine foundations, cable laying, pipeline development and general infrastructure improvements are taking place on an unprecedented scale. Operators are becoming increasingly aware of the ongoing threat posed by the presence and migration of UXO on the seabed.
Development and modernisation projects for the UK’s ports and harbours have also seen numerous encounters with UXO where increased costs and time delays could have been avoided by the sensible and pragmatic application of marine UXO risk management.
With the expansion of the renewables energy industry into new markets in Asia and the USA, Fellows can offer support and assistance to developers in these new and exciting areas.
The marine UXO risk is posed by a large legacy of UXO, left on the seabed during both world wars, from years of ordnance dumping as well as military training and testing activities. Fellows recognise how important it is for inshore and offshore developers to address the site-specific risks posed by UXO, both for the safety of personnel and equipment and ultimately for the successful completion of a project. There are numerous examples of marine construction projects that have experienced costly delays relating to the unplanned location of UXO, highlighting the need for a robust and coordinated approach to UXO risk management.
With a management team of ex Royal Navy Bomb Disposal Officers and Senior Ratings, Fellows are uniquely placed to assist with the unique demands of marine UXO risk management. Fellows only use fully qualified personnel with the correct level of experience and training. Advanced Operators are a key part of the decision making and risk management process and all Fellows offshore tasks will be supervised by suitably qualified and experienced ex Royal Navy Advanced EOD Operators.
Fellows carry out all of their marine UXO operations in accordance with robust method statements, produced from considerable military and commercial experience and in line with the best practice guidelines outlined in CIRIA Report C754 and the IMAS 09-60 document (published by the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining.)
In the marine environment, every project is unique. Fellows can provide support across the complete project lifecycle.
UXO Threat and Risk Assessment
Fellows undertake comprehensive desk based studies to identify the likely UXO threat in a particular area. The desk study can be broad in nature, covering a broad region, or they can be produced for a narrow, well-defined area. To identify the marine UXO threat Fellows utilise a number of different sources, including: the national archives, military records, war records, range maps, disposal records, nautical charts, news articles, public documents and databases and a number of other relevant sources.
We utilise qualitative screening methods to quickly and inexpensively, establish the likely presence of UXO in a particular area. Our experienced UXO Researchers and Analysts expertly select and organise information gathered from a number of sources, which when collated and analysed gives an indication of the type of UXO, its location and why it could be present.
The information gathered during the threat assessment phase can then be utilised to inform the planning of appropriate risk management strategies.
Risk Mitigation Strategy and planning
With a Naval background and our south coast location, Fellows are well placed to support inshore and offshore marine UXO projects. We have significant experience in supporting marine UXO projects ranging from surveying inland waterways in areas of high WW2 bombing density to providing marine surveys in Naval dockyards.
Building on the findings of a UXO Threat Assessment, Fellows will work with our client to develop a complete UXO Risk Mitigation Strategy based upon the specific risks associated with each aspect of a particular project. We consider five high level risk management principles: avoid, mitigate, transfer, share and tolerate to determine the best way to manage the UXO risk. The comprehensive risk mitigation plan will enable our client to demonstrate how the UXO risk can be reduced to ALARP [As Low As Reasonably Practicable].
Fellows will use the information gleaned from the Threat assessment document against the client’s planned Scope of Work to determine and recommend the best mitigation processes for dealing with the risk.
The UXO Risk Mitigation Strategy will inform the design and specification of any risk mitigation activity that may be required.
Marine UXO survey (Risk Mitigation - delivery)
We are able to provide high quality marine surveys to detect the presence of potential UXO (pUXO) in ports and harbours or for offshore developments including windfarms or cable routes. Survey capability includes the provision of magnetic surveys using Transverse Gradiometers (TVG), Side Scan Sonar allowing high quality seabed imagery and 3dChirp. 3dChirp is a sub-bottom profiling system developed by the National Oceanographic Centre (NOC) in Southampton and uses world leading acoustic technology to give the highest quality 3d images of buried items that may be pUXO.
Dependent upon the scale of the project, marine UXO surveys can be conducted from small or large vessels with organic or towed systems or even by the use of autonomous vehicles carrying sensor packages, either surface (Autonomous Surface Vehicle) or sub-surface (Autonomous Underwater Vehicle),
The analysis team will collate raw and processed survey data and will use a range of software resources to determine if an anomaly detected by sonar or magnetometer is pUXO. Every effort will be made to reduce the number of detected anomalies to a realistic number of targets which will require investigation and identification. Fellows will issue the client with a Master Target List (MTL) which gives detail of every potential target and informs the next stage of risk mitigation.
Our professionally qualified ex-Naval UXO Engineers work alongside the survey providers and data analysts to classify sonar contacts and detected anomalies and can then recommend further mitigation procedures to visually identify items by divers or by remote means such as ROVs or AUVs.
Ports, harbours and inland waterways
Nearly every port and harbour in the UK has some sort of military history ranging from German aerial bombing to munitions testing or vessel loading. Fellows are specialists in shallow water survey and risk mitigation. Whether your site is a port or harbour undergoing whole or partial redevelopment, or an inland site with a potential UXO hazard in a river or dock are we can research, assess and mitigate UXO risk. We can deploy a range of shallow water survey procedures ranging from marine Cone Penetration Testing from a barge or pontoon for jetty piling or waterfront sheet piling to the world renowned 3dChirp system for port areas prior to dredging or redevelopment. Once a survey has identified buried anomalies with munition like qualities, Fellows can carry out Target Investigation procedures using qualified and experienced UXO divers to excavate and identify these anomalies.
Following the survey and data analysis phase of an inshore or offshore operation, Fellows can provide appropriately trained and qualified personnel to undertake target exploitation.
This can be by ROV or diver and may involve the dredging or excavation of targets to allow positive visual identification.
Fellows work with partnered diving contractors and will supply EOD specialists, both supervisors and divers to ensure that UXO diving is carried out in a safe and effective way.
Fellows will often recommend the use of a high definition sonar camera to assist with target identification. This has been proven to cut down diving time and therefore reduces the costs and risks associated with diving.
Clearance / Disposal
Once a UXO threat has been positively identified, Fellows can provide information and resources to allow items of UXO to be removed, destroyed or left in place, either in house or by Royal Navy Clearance Diving units.
Taking into account environmental aspects and the strict regulations that govern maritime developments, Fellows work closely with experienced and accredited suppliers and environmental organisations to provide a UXO solution that is both sustainable and resilient.
Fellows recognise the importance of a reliable and proven UXO disposal system. For this reason, we utilise the world-renowned COBRA Mine Disposal System for clearance of seabed munitions. From sea mines and torpedo warheads to bombs and shells, the COBRA system is versatile and reliable. Fellows utilise the COBRA mine disposal system in a variety of different configurations, specific to each the item of ordnance. The system delivers an extremely high success rate.
Fellows are licensed by the UK HSE and Police to obtain and use explosives to dispose of underwater munitions.
Finally, after all recommended procedures have been conducted, Fellows can sign-off the risk from UXO for a particular site or project in the form of an ALARP Certificate.
Fellows can supply trained and experienced marine UXO professionals to act as client Representatives to oversee geophysical survey and Explosive Ordnance Disposal operations during ROV or diver-based inspection and disposal. Fellows’ Client Representatives provide UXO safety via briefings to the vessel or platform crew and during survey operations will ensure that survey data deliverable requirements are met.
Marine services summary
Having been operating in and around the marine environment for nearly 25 years, Fellows are uniquely placed to assist with the unique demands of marine UXO risk mitigation. Fellows only use fully qualified personnel with the correct level of experience and training. Fellows carry out all of their marine UXO operations in accordance with robust method statements, produced from considerable commercial and military experience and in line with the best practice guidelines outlined in CIRIA Report C754 and the IMAS 09-60 document (published by the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining.) Fellows work closely with other established marine services suppliers to ensure that only the highest quality of service is delivered and overseen which ensures that the client can proceed with their works in the knowledge that the risk posed by UXO is at the ALARP level.