Gap Explosive Ordnance Detection (EOD) has invented the technology for Dutch dredging giant Boskalis to find the unexploded munitions from WWII in the Borssele Wind Farm Zone in the North Sea.
The project is part of a multi-million dollar deal between Fugro and Boskalis for the Dutch transmissions systems operator TenneT. It includes survey work involving underwater cables for the planned grid connection between offshore platforms and a substation on the Dutch coastline.
“The team will be delivering the technology in October,” said Dr Stephen Billings, director of Gap EOD. “We’re no stranger to marine projects, having previously undertaken similar jobs over the past several years, including a major project with Boskalis Westminster in Portsmouth Harbour in the UK.”
The UltraTEM technology invented by Gap EOD involves the customisation of a remote-operated system that scans for buried cables and unexploded ordnance (UXO) underwater. According to the company, it is the only technology of its kind, with the capability to detect all metals and scan depths of up to 3.5 metres.
“Gap EOD is the only company in the world with the technology capable of deep underwater detection of sophisticated aluminium sea-mines,” said Dr Billings.
The 700MW Borssele wind farm project, to be built as part of a collaborative effort between Shell, Van Oord, Eneco and Mitsubishi/DGE, is situated off the coast of the Netherlands and is part of four substantial projects in the wind farm zone.
“UXOs are all over the world, and pose a high risk of detonation, particularly when the land or sea is being utilised for commercial or residential redevelopment.
Using our UltraTEM system, which employs sensors to detect buried metal, we can scan deep subsea levels.
It’s a faster, deeper technique that completely re-defines traditional exploration and tracing methods.”
The new project follows several successful contracts undertaken by Gap EOD, including redevelopment work in Germany for WWI munitions and in Laos, where 80 million unexploded bombs remain as a legacy of the Vietnam War.