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  • UXO Mitigation in High Security Nuclear Submarine Shipyard - Barrow in Furness

    MMC Divers complete UXO Mitigation in Barrow in Furness

    MMC Divers complete UXO clearance in high security nuclear submarine shipyard prior to quay extension works in Barrow in Furness.


Client: BAE

Contractor: McLaughlin & Harvey Ltd

Duration: 2 weeks

Date posted: 07-02-2020

MMC Divers provided a UXO dive team to identification potential unexploded ordnance or (pUXO) - An anomaly identified as UXO by geophysical survey and data analysis but not yet visually identified by a UXO professional.

During the Second World War (WWII), the shipyard was subjected to a greater degree of bombardment than the rest of Barrow in Furness, which was likely due to the site's importance to the Allied war effort as a shipyard.

There were numerous bomb strikes throughout the dock area, as the dock was essential to Britain's large ship repair and construction capacity, the dock was well protected, with bomb strikes monitored diligently. However It is generally accepted that 10% of all aerial bombs and 30% of incendiary devices dropped during the WW2 failed to function as intended and a certain amount are possibly still buried on the seabed.

With the scope of works to the quay extension involving piling operations, within this very high secure site, and with Barrow-In-Furness operating as one of the few shipyards in the world capable of designing and building nuclear submarines, McLaughlin and Harvey's needed to eliminate any potential risk of all targets following a survey and prior to piling operations.

The detonation of a large item of UXO on a seabed in shallow water would pose a significant threat to equipment, vessels, submarines and personnel. The risk that UXO could be initiated if encountered will depend on its condition, how it is found and the energy with which it is struck.

A UXO does not spontaneously explode. All high explosives require significant energy to create the conditions for detonation to occur. In the case of marine UXO there are a number of potential initiation mechanisms. The level of hazard associated with explosive substances and munitions of different natures is well documented and must not be reduced or ignored.

MMC Dive team had to locate the targets by using a magnetometer in depths between 8 & 15 meters, our divers then excavated all the pUXO targets using our airlifts and air lances, once the targets were identified a report was issued to enable an ALARP Certificate to be issued for each target. All MMC's work is carried out in accordance with CIRIA report C754 (UXO risk in the marine environment) and is planned, managed and overseen by experienced marine UXO professionals.

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