Why you must NOT do what Simon says when it comes to UXO


After SafeLane spoke on the Jeremy Vine Show with Joanna Lumley about the safe disposal of ordnance in the marine environment, a member of the public called Simon rang in to talk about exploiting unspent ordnance - here's why you must NOT follow his advice...

Yesterday, 22nd April, our Director of Marine Services, Ryan Prophet joined Joanna Lumley on the Jeremy Vine show to talk about environmentally appropriate ways of disposing of UXO in the sea.

Stop Sea Blasts and SafeLane feature on the Jeremy Vine Show

Joanna Lumley talked about the Stop Sea Blasts campaign which she supports, and which in turn supports low order deflagration techniques for the disposal of ordnance.  And SafeLane’s Ryan gave additional technical insight into ways ordnance can be safely handled at sea to protect the fragile marine eco system. 

As per the Jeremy Vine Show format, after the experts explained the subject matter, members of the public could phone or email and have their say. 

Simon says…

One caller was Simon – seemingly an amateur diver and collector of unexploded ordnance.  Here’s a transcript of his conversation with Jeremy Vine: 

Jeremy: “Simon from near York you used to be a diver and you’ve seen some of these bombs Simon?”

Simon: “Not so much bombs but shells; we used to go on to old munitions wrecks - in particular one on the south coast near the Isle of Wight.  And basically we collected the shells for the brass. 

“Some of the more hairy chested members of the community would collect the unexploded or the unused ones and bring them back to the beach and just knock the heads out.”

Jeremy: “How do you knock the heads out without dying?”

Simon: “Well these are kinetic like very big bullets – they might be two or 3 inches in diameter but they are effectively a kinetic bullet so you just hold the shell, knock it on a rock and effectively the lead end would fall out along with all the cordite that was the propellant. 

“And of course with it being wet it’s not going to burn or explode but leaving it on the beach it would dry out and the local kids would come along later once its dried and have a lot of fun throwing this on the fire and watching it flare up.” 

Jeremy: “That’s brilliant thank you very much.”

Why you must not disturb unexploded ordnance

 This is very much a case of please DON’T do what Simon says; here’s why in the words of one of our Explosive Ordnance Disposal experts J:

“Unfortunately, this gentleman’s comments were a complete textbook answer on what not to do with any items of ordnance…

“From actively seeking out lethal items for trophies or for financial gain to letting children have access to harmful propellants…

“As for banging unexploded items on rocks to separate projectiles from their casings, that is something that should never be done - taking a stable item and potentially making it angry is a big no no. 

“These items have been designed to kill – they need to be treated with the respect they deserve.”

What to do if you find a suspicious item or ordnance

 Whether you find a suspicious item, or you locate an item that is very clearly ordnance – do not touch or disturb it, get away from the area and call 999.

 Because explosive remnants of wars and military training still litter the ocean and many parts of Britain, if you’re planning any form of intrusive works onshore or offshore, start with a desktop survey to understand any risks you may need to mitigate.

Choose BombRisk – and choose SafeLane Global.  Contact us today...

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