The Magazine for Underwater Professionals

Nov/Dec 2019


Society for Underwater Technology

Marine salvage and unexploded ordnance

A total of 33 people attended our October evening seminar titled ‘Salvage and UXO’ covering how to safely lift and recover marine casualties and unexploded ordnance from the seabed.

Alexander Gorter, senior naval architect and salvage master at SMIT Salvage BV, explained how the wreck of the TS Taipei, laden with containers, was removed just five months after running aground off Taiwan in 2016. Amongst the newest hazards complicating things was that groundings close to shore are within the range of domestic drones that not only interfere with the salvage operation but stand to harm the reputations of the shipping company and salvor alike.

Alexander also covered some of the commercial issues regarding wreck removal and salvage contracts, the safety issues resulting from working on board a wreck that had broken in two with toppling containers, removal of the superstructure and main engine in separate lifts, then the refloating operation for each half of the casualty.

  • 'TS Taipei' ran aground off Taiwan in 2016

Jennie Kevis-Stirling, survey and UXO manager, and Adrian Dann, EOD superintendent, both of James Fisher Marine Services, discussed unexploded ordnance from the investigation phase, reviewing information sources to assess an area’s potential for hazard, thorough case studies of clearance for the EA1 wind farm off East Anglia, UK. Jennie covered a variety of magnetometer, sidescan and sub-bottom profiler tools from several specialist suppliers, with Adrian discussing the variety of ordnance that could be encountered, dredging them clear of the seabed and their proprietary Barracuda live-firing tool to detonate the target.

Both presenters showed video clarifying certain aspects of their work, which of course gives a better sense of scale than presentation slides often can.

Questions from our audience threatened to over-run and our speakers were kept busy during the networking buffet afterwards, answering further questions that there hadn't been time for in the auditorium.

Martin Harley





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