The Construction Industry Research and Information Association has published guidelines for the marine construction industry on the management of unexploded ordnance at sea.

The report was prepared by Royal Haskoning, an engineering consultancy and 6 Alpha Associates, an offshore strategic advisor.

It sets out guidelines and best practice for organisations working in the offshore energy industry as it expands in UK and European waters to address site-specific risks, protect the safety of workers and ensure projects are completed successfully.

One risk identified is that of unexploded items on the seabed from two World Wars, munitions dumping, military training and testing.

Several offshore wind projects have suffered costly delays because of the mismanagement of UXO risks, particularly during construction.

During the operations and maintenance phase management teams also have to be aware of the threat because the law makes project directors accountable if a UXO-related incident happens on site.

CIRIA’s report sets out a framework for the assessment and management of risks, identifies responsibilities and highlights when advice from a UXO professional should be sought.

6 Alpha Associates managing director Simon Cooke said: “The law requires that UXO risk must be reduced to a level that is As Low As Reasonably Practicable (ALARP).

“However, until now, a lack of understanding has led many industry players either to neglect the true scale of the UXO threat until it’s too late, or to adopt excessive and very expensive clearance strategies.”

CIRIA project manager Joanne Kwan said: “This document is the first UK good practice guidance and will provide comprehensive UXO risk management guidelines for all organisations working throughout the lifecycle of marine energy, cabling and infrastructure projects.”

Image: Seabed (CMS GEO)