What is underwater UXO pollution ?

Wars have left the waters littered with various types of explosive devices.

Past air and naval bombing campaigns, former mine laying operations, the dumping of ammunition at sea as well as the presence of ship and aircraft wrecks all now pose a tremendous challenge for port and dock expansions, the laying of pipelines and cables and wind turbines implementation at sea.

Underwater clearance operations apply to explosive ordnance immerged in territorial waters and inland waters alike, such as lakes, rivers, harbours, ponds and canals.

1- UXO threat and risk assessment

Geomines desktop study UXO risk assessment is a comprehensive study to design a suitable and appropriate UXO risk mitigation strategy, based on :

  • A historical study, which explains the type of UXO risks present on site based on past events;
  • Migration and burial phenomena that can impact the depth of munitions;
  • All technical parameters of geophysical acquisition (depth detection, size of the object defining the risk);
  • The type of construction works which will be led on site.

Based upon the findings of the risk assessment, Geomines team will provide strategic options for reducing the UXO risk to ALARP (As low as reasonably practicable).

2- UXO geophysical survey

The detection of UXO in underwater environment is a technical challenge which requires qualified and experienced staff with proven equipment.

Geomines divers use advanced software and equipment with geophysical techniques such as marine magnetometer, coupled with a side-scan sonar and multibeam echosounder and sub-bottom sediment profiler to establish a geophysical image of the entire study area , in 2D or 3D, on a map or in section.

More information on the  👉 dedicated page

3- ALARP Certification

Geomines’s ALARP safety sign-off certification is a certificate confirming the UXO risk has been mitigated to “as low as reasonably practicable”.

The ALARP certification defines “safe zones” for geotechnical investigation or installation work for example, where UXO risks is reduced at its minimum, based on the UXO survey and the risk assessment. 

4- Underwater clearance by Geomines

Underwater clearance operations form an integral part of Geomines’ DNA. Our divers, who all hold more than 20 years of French Navy experience and continuous trainings within Geomines, have extensive knowledge of UXOs and underwater environments. They implement more than 10 survey and clearance operations per year at all depths and in all environments, in France and abroad.

For each project, innovative solutions are developed to adapt to the unique constraints of our clients and their specifications.

In France, Geomines holds the certification of companies made mandatory since January 1, 2020 by application of the decree of September 29, 2017 on hyperbaric work. Our divers are are holders of a hyperbaric suitability certificate class II or III mention A conduct mine-clearance operations at any depths.

5- Other services at sea are possible

Geomines’ teams can intervene for various types of missions: destruction at sea in compliance with local regulations, impact studies at sea following the use of explosives or means that disturb the underwater environment, hull inspection, underwater environment protection with bubble curtains, etc.

Operations and works carried out by our teams of divers are conducted with full respect of the environment.