NEWS ROUNDUP May 2015

2015 May

31 May, 2015
Boy Dies As UXO Detonates in East Jebel Marra, Darfur


A young herder (10) from Taradona village in East Jebel Marra was killed today, when a piece of unexploded ordnance (UXO) detonated. A relative of Ayman Suleiman Musa told Radio Dabanga that the incident occurred in the area between Taradona and Khazan Tunjur this (Sunday) afternoon. There is just a little bit more here from AllAfrica.com.

24 May, 2015
Japan: Please Return Our War Dead Home


Over the years, remains of Japanese soldiers found on Guadalcanal, Western Province, and parts of Central Province were retrieved and returned to Japan for proper burials. An official of Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said thousands more are still lying here and in other countries of the Pacific such as Papua New Guinea, Micronesia, and Palau. Pacific leaders responded to the request by expressing their willingness to provide all possible support to assist Japan in their recovery efforts.
They also welcomed an initiative from the Japanese government to undertake the safe removal and clearance of World War II unexploded ordnance (UXO). Thousands of UXO are lying under the waters and on soils in Solomon Islands.
You can read a little bit more here.

May 22, 2015
Cambodian Underwater Mine Team Finds Success


When 42-year-old fisherman Yor Dieb snagged his net on an object just meters from the Mekong River bank here, he had little choice but to dive down and untangle it by hand.
The net had wrapped itself on the tail of a live 227-kilogram bomb, a relic of the 1970-1975 civil war when the United States dropped hundreds of thousands of tons on Cambodia, a so-called “sideshow” to its battle in neighboring Vietnam.
There wasn’t much Yor could do – until late last month, when a specialist in demining came to his village 30 kilometers southeast of Phnom Penh, asking whether residents had found unexploded ordnance, or UXO, in the river. Yor told them he had, and on Thursday, Cambodia’s newly trained UXO dive team from the government’s Cambodian Mine Action Center (CMAC) dived the 6 meters, extracted the Mk-82 bomb from the Mekong’s murky depths, brought it ashore and defused it. You can see, read and listen to the rest of this interesting story on underwater demining in Cambodia at VOA, The Guardian, Huffington Post and RFI.

May 18, 2015
Vietnam signs UXO clearance aid pack with U.S. mine advisory group

Big News!
Vietnam’s central Quang Tri Province and the Mine Advisory Group (MAG) of the United States on Monday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to carry out an unexploded ordnance (UXO) clearance project in the province between 2015 and 2017.
According to the MoU, the U.S. State Department has pledged to sponsor 10 million U.S. dollars in aid for the province to disarm UXO left over from the war in Vietnam.
The project aims to reduce the risks of injuries caused by UXO while clearing contaminated areas and improving local livelihoods, reported Vietnam’s state-run news agency VNA.
That said, the US is spending nearly as much in this one province in Vietnam as in all of next-door Laos. You can read the rest of the story at the Shanghai Daily. And/or in VietNam Net.

May 15, 2015
Canadian Forces clearance divers in Estonia to dispose of munitions from Second World War

Operation OPEN SPIRIT is an annual, combined and joint Explosive Remnants of War (ERW) clearance operation conducted in the spirit of Partnership for Peace and hosted on a rotational basis by one of three Baltic State NATO members: Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
The CAF contingent consists of 14 clearance divers and support personnel based out of Fleet Diving Unit (Atlantic) from Canadian Forces Base Halifax in Halifax, Nova Scotia. More a series of bullet points than a story – read the rest from the Ottawa Citizen here.

May 14, 2015
UXO have economic and social impacts, says Rabuka

The Unexploded Ordinance has posed an economic and social impact to the lives of people in the Solomon Islands.
A representative from the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS) highlighted this during the launching of the WW2 photographic exhibition at the National Art Gallery on Wednesday.
Sakiusa Rabuka said, this has caused the slow progress of development in the country. Read more about WWII-era UXO in this Pacific island nation here.

May 14, 2015
The Hydrographic Society UXO Survey Seminar

It’s an underwater UXO seminar in Britain! Sounds interesting: “Taking place at Southampton Solent University Conference Centre on June 19th, the event will attract participants from a range of industry sectors including Offshore Oil & Gas, Marine Renewables, Port and Terminal Civil Engineering and Dredging.
Unexploded ordnance (UXO) pose a potential risk to seabed developers and contractors and the survey and detection of such explosive munitions presents various challenges. Bibby HydroMap have decades of experience in the provision of large scale UXO surveys, much of which is a result of the growth in the UK offshore wind industry. The company have worked closely with clients and UXO consultants to optimise their UXO survey configuration to maximise data quality whilst increasing efficiency.” See more here.

May 11, 2015
National Guard search for explosives in Winchester Hills; STGnews Videocast

Searches for explosives in the rural community of Winchester Hills north of St. George have become a part of life for some residents since 2007, when one resident discovered a 3 1/2-inch bazooka round that was apparently left in the area over 50 years ago; at that time the area was a Utah National Guard training range. Monday, the search continued as a private company hired by the state of Utah in conjunction with the National Guard combed an area of the community and the surrounding area with high powered metal detectors. More on UXO in Utah here.

May 8, 2015
Job Announcement: UXO Technician 3 in Alabama

A job in the USA for a professional clearance worker! How unusual is that? “UXO Technician Level 3 position with the potential for extensive travel and long-term on-site work as required.” I wonder if you get to travel to Laos or Vietnam or Cambodia? Probably not… Anyway, if interested, here is the job link.

May 7, 2015
UXO kills man as he ploughs

A man hired to operate a plough was killed in a rice field yesterday when he struck an anti-tank mine in Battambang province’s Phnom Prek district, bringing this year’s death toll from unexploded ordnance to at least eight.
The victim, Sorn Sim, 36, was a resident of O’Tasok village, according to Phnom Prek district police chief Song Sopheak.
Sopheak said the incident occurred in a field that farmers had cultivated for years, but had formerly served as a battlefield. Read more about farming dangers in Western Cambodia at The Phnom Penh Post.

May 4, 2015
Boy Killed, Three Injured in UXO Explosion

A 12-year-old boy was killed and two other children and their adult neighbor were seriously injured when an old artillery shell exploded on Saturday evening in a remote area of Preah Vihear province, a local military police official said Sunday.
The explosion occurred after Soeun Chin, a 28-year-old soldier, found the DK-75 shell while gathering firewood in the forest with the three children and decided to put it in his cart and take it home, according to Chhour Bunsong, the military police commander for Choam Ksan district in Preah Vihear. The Cambodia Daily has the rest of the story.

May 3, 2015
Ordnance removal workers say job is hazardous, pay is unfair

It’s not a job for the faint of heart. Unexploded ordnance that litters former military training sites on many Hawaiian islands is unstable, known to go off without warning. One such occurrence early this month sent two maintenance workers at Makua Military Reservation on Oahu to the hospital with serious injuries, West Hawaii Today reported Tuesday.
Eleven people have been killed or injured by old artillery rounds in the state since the 1940s. Read more on the UXO danger in Hawaii at The Times Union.

NEWS ROUNDUP September 2014

Sept2014News

30 September, 2014
Let’s not rely on luck when it comes to unexploded bombs


Last month, a 36kg unexploded bomb was discovered in North Point, left by the Japanese at the end of the second world war. The police used 100 sandbags to effect a controlled explosion. Nevertheless, debris was flung 100 metres and it created a three-metre-deep crater. In February, a 900kg American bomb discovered in Happy Valley was successfully defused by the police.
Hong Kong’s struggle in the second world war involved the use of ordnance – aircraft bombs, artillery, grenades and other types of ammunition – manufactured by the British, Japanese, Americans and Chinese. After the war, one of the first jobs for the British on returning to Hong Kong was to clear the harbour of the 50-odd shipwrecks. Resources were not available for a general clearance of unexploded ordnance (UXO) and the efforts made at that time were less than optimal. Read more about Hong Kong’s WWII-era bomb problem at the South China Morning Post.

26 September, 2014
1,000-pound bomb safely detonated in Quang Tri

Exploded Ordnance Disposal (EOD) teams from Peace Trees Viet Nam (PTVN) detonated and removed a 1,000-pound (450kg) bomb in the central Quang Tri Province yesterday.
Pham Thi Hoang Ha of PTVN, a non-government organisation that has been searching for unexploded ordnance in Quang Tri since 1995, said the 1.8-metre-long, 35.6-centimentre-diameter bomb, which was classified as an MK83, is believed to have been left behind after the American war. More here.

25 September, 2014
500-kg bomb exposed on riverbank in northern Vietnam

A 500-kg bomb has emerged from the bank of a river in the northern Vietnamese province of Quang Tri after continuous rains in the area, local authorities reported Wednesday.
While patrolling along the bank of the Se Pon River yesterday, border guards found the unexploded ordnance (UXO) lying on the ground nearby, said the Tam Thanh border gate station in Thanh commune, Huong Hoa District. More at Tuoi Tre News.

19 September, 2014
Finding Unexploded Ordnance on the Reef or On Your Way to Work

Sal was walking in to work today when he noticed an encrusted mortar shell lying by the side of the path. Being obviously more aware of his surroundings than I am in the morning, he pulled up short. “How in the heck did that get there?” was his first thought, followed by, “That should NOT be there.”
He did not touch it or move it. He called Jim, our facilities manager, the police came, followed by an EOD (Explosive Ordinance Disposal) team. When I walked up, there was a 50 meter perimeter already set up. You can read the rest at Science Island (Hawaii).

September 19, 2014
UXO Drone to find UXO in Laos

Ryan Baker says that Laos is, per capita, the most heavily bombed nation in the world. During the Vietnam war the US flew more than half a million bombing missions and delivered more than two million tons of explosive ordnance.
Baker’s solution is to use his company’s drones to search for these UXOs without putting the drone operators in danger. Arch Aerial is running a Kickstarter campaign to get development funding for a proposed Arch Aerial UXO Drone. See more here and at Kickstarter. (Editor’s note: This is so unlikely on so many levels, but is interesting nonetheless)

September 19, 2014
ANAMA completes mine/UXO clearance operations in Gabala radar station

36 anti-tank, 16 antipersonnel mines and one UXO were found during the operations.
Azerbaijan National Agency for Mine Action (ANAMA) has completed the mine/UXO clearance operations in the territory of Gabala radar station, chief operation manager of ANAMA Samir Poladov told APA. Read more at News.AZ

September 18, 2014
War to Peace – An American 
veteran returns to Vietnam to help make it safer for 
his former enemy

Nearly 40 years on, Chuck Searcy is still fighting the Vietnam War—but now for the other side. It’s a September morning and Searcy, a 69-year-old veteran, is overseeing a team of Vietnamese about to blow up a bomb discovered in a village in the central coastal province of Quang Tri. Because of its proximity to the old DMZ between what was once North and South Vietnam, Quang Tri was subject to relentless bombing by U.S. warships and planes. As a result, the area is infested with unexploded ordnance. You can see the rest at TIME.

September 11, 2014
Suspected unexploded ordnance found near grounded vessel

THE salvage operations to remove the container ship MV Paul Russ from the reef in the Saipan Harbor ran into another roadblock yesterday with the discovery of what appears to be unexploded ordnance.
According to a release issued by Lt. William White of the U.S. Coast Guard, “While conducting dive operations, divers discovered what appears to be unexploded ordnance behind and next to the grounded vessel. All response operations in the vicinity of the vessel have been suspended until the U.S. Navy Explosives Ordnance Division (USN EOD) can assess and safely remove the items.”
More to be read at Marianas Variety.

September 2, 2014
Lao villager’s favorite pastime: detonate unexploded U.S. bombs

While most residents at Vilabouly village in Savannakhet province in Laos are engaged in farming and fishing, Wan’s favorite pastime is defusing bombs left by the Americans during the Indochina war.
Recently Wan defused a 1,000 kilogram U.S. bomb after European experts decided that defusing the unexploded ordnance (UXO) would prove to be too dangerous.
The Shanghai Daily has more of this very curious story.

September 3, 2014
Gwynt y Môr bomb sweep completed

Consultant engineering outfit 6 Alpha Associates has carried out a five-month unexploded ordnance (UXO) project to pave the way for cable installation at RWE’s 576MW Gwynt y Môr wind farm.
The risk management work at the 160-turbine wind farm, in 12–33 metres of water in Liverpool Bay, off the Welsh coast, is final confirmation that the threat to cable installation from UXOs has been reduced to “as low as is reasonably practicable”. More at Recharge News.