Specialists check the bed of the River Weser for munitions
The work for the Offshore Terminal Bremerhaven (OTB) has entered a new phase: over the past few days, a team of specialists has been looking for munitions and other obstructions at Blexer Bogen on behalf of bremenports, the port management company. On Thursday (25 February 2016), bremenports Managing Director Robert Howe announced that up to four ships a day are involved: a sounding vessel, a diving and crane vessel, a salvage and munitions boat and a pontoon.
“The work is making good progress,” said Howe. “Every day, the specialists tackle several potential salvage points. When the sounding vessel locates a suspicious area, a GPS system guides the diving and crane vessel to the exact location. Once the vessel is in position, it is fixed in place with integrated piles. The diver is then lowered to the riverbed alongside an air lift and examines a two-metre radius around the potential munitions response site, using a jetting lance. Site clutter – which can include old wire cables, sheet metal, armour stone or concrete debris – is hooked up and then lifted by crane onto the pontoon. If munitions are detected, Bremen’s munitions clearance department is called in to decide on further procedure.”
Howe added that 25 suspicious points had been cleared by the middle of this week, “The team found nothing apart from scrap and stones, and no munitions as yet thankfully.”
The diving and crane vessel is manned by divers, the skipper, signalman, equipment operator and deck hand. Howe expects the underwater munitions detection and clearance work to be completed in around six months. This part of the OTB project involves costs of around 3.5 million euros.
Teams are also searching for munitions and other obstacles on the site of the former airport, after several hectares of land to the west of the former runway were cleared in January.