The INTERNATIONAL DIALOGUE ON UNDERWATER MUNITIONS (IDUM) TECHNOLOGY SIDE EVENT was held on 15 July 2013.
Technological advancements in the Oil and Gas Sector have cleared the way to safely, environmentally-friendly and cost-effectively remediate many underwater munition sites today, while some sites will not likely be candidates to remediate safely do to environmental factors, risks, and costs.
The number, types, and potential risks of munitions found at these dump sites vary greatly, but are generally characterized as conventional (high explosive filled), chemical (disbursement), or radiological in nature. Underwater munitions affect sensitive ecosystems already under some form of protection, waters containing subsistence and commercially harvested marine products, and those waters rich in oil and gas reserves.
Technology developers have provided several solutions that could support worldwide munitions response programs.
There are several specialized Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUV) for Area Wide Assessments and Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROV’s) for detail investigation, recovery or disposal available. There are presently eight different manufacturers of blast containment systems for chemical and conventional munitions.
These systems operate by placing munitions into an armored, pressurized vessel. Some of these chambers offer zero emissions into the environment.
Other approaches utilize a thermal process, incorporating a rotary kiln or furnace to burn off the explosive compounds while Abrasive water jet-cutting has been successfully employed to open and empty over one million projectiles without incident. Once cut open, the filler material is washed out and environmental friendly recycled.