Removal of unexploded ordnance from the Danube river
Last week, EU expert divers started the removal of unexploded ordnance from the Danube River, near Prahovo.
Experts will be diving on a daily basis until mid-October to detect and remove unexploded ordnance (UXO) from the water area, the littoral area and the banks of Danube in order to protect the environment and ensure safe navigation conditions in those parts of Corridor VII. The action is part of an EU-funded project.
The project "Removal of unexploded ordnance", which the EU is funding with 3.5 million Euro started in June last year with preliminary surveys and will be running until December 2012. The beneficiary of the project is the Ministry of Infrastructure and Energy with guidance and supervision by the Mine Action Centre Serbia.
The Danube River provides the unique opportunity for sustainable transport solutions connecting the Danube countries to the European markets. The EU has integrated the Danube as Pan European Transport Corridor VII in the planning of the Trans-European network. However, at the location of Prahovo, a number of UXO are still located in the riverbed and the bank, representing a threat to navigating vessels, the local population and the environment. On the basis of ballistic estimates, experience and observations, a number of missiles aimed at the oil storage in Prahovo might not have exploded during the 1999 NATO air strikes (especially those that hit the water). In addition, UXO from the World War II can be found at this location. The project experts will detect and remove UXO from the waters and the banks of the Danube in Prahovo.
The following geophysical methods to detect anomalies suspicious to be UXO are being used:
- Surface clearance to ensure safe walking conditions in preparation of deep search detection of the land area (BAC-Battle Area Clearance)
- Deep search of land areas with magnetic and electromagnetic methods
- Acoustic methods (Side-Scan, Multibeam and Sub-bottom-profiler) as well as magnetic methods for detection of the river bed
- Borehole detection with 3-axis-magnetometer and geo-radar to get a clear measurement of the dimensions and position of the target in preparation of recovery
During an initial phase of the project, which lasted from June to November, experts have already measured the dimensions of the area and carried out a detailed geophysical investigation to obtain a high resolution image of the riverbed and suspicious anomalies in preparation of the removal of UXO. Meanwhile, 18 German World War II grenades have been found and disposed of. After data processing of all acquired geophysical data during first months of 2012, more than 1000 suspicious anomalies had been discovered for closer inspection by divers. It is suspected that 2-3 unexploded bombs from the 1999 NATO air strikes could be found during the course of the project in the designated area as well as some more World War II grenades.
The project is implemented by SeaTerra GmbH, Wandlitz, Germany and supervised by the consulting office Mull & Partner Ingenieurgesellschaft mbH, Hannover.
Project contact: Dr.-Ing. Rainald Häber, Team Leader Supervision
Project Office Serbia
Kneza Milosa 19/III
11000 Beograd, Serbia
phone +381 11 303 92 38, fax +381 11 323 76 90, mobile: +381-603391229/+49-160-98950690