James Fisher Marine Services delivers UXO campaign at German offshore wind farm

James Fisher Marine Services provided critical expertise to a high priority project at Nordergründe offshore wind farm located 16km off the North Sea coast of Germany.

James Fisher Marine Services (JFMS), a world leader in the location, identification and disposal of deep-sea unexploded ordnance (UXO) and part of James Fisher and Sons plc, provided critical expertise to a high priority project at Nordergründe offshore wind farm located 16km off the North Sea coast of Germany, alongside their joint venture partners GSS Hansa Offshore.

Offshore wind farm development and management specialists, wpd offshore solutions (wpd), approached JFMS to use its innovative and safe excavation techniques to survey the precarious area and remove all unexploded munitions. The UXO’s, which had been released by Central Powers and Allied forces during WWI, had delayed planned construction works and was at risk of costing the developer millions as a result.

Jan Patrick Daniel, offshore project manager at wpd, said of the operation;

“James Fisher Marine Services was chosen for the project due to their experience in an area where efficient and safe working is paramount. We have been impressed with the attention to detail, quick thinking and innovative resolutions that they continually demonstrated”.

Of the 224 targets identified, 72 were deemed to be UXO’s and had to be detonated with minimal impact to sea life. 

JFMS' project manager, Max Clements, said:

“Due to the project’s potentially dangerous complexities- such as rough tide, heavily buried ordnance and inclement weather- the team was prepped to be ready at a moment’s notice whenever a suitable weather window opened up.

 “As with all UXO operations safety was of the upmost priority and from the planning stages we ensured we had project specific equipment, world-class expertise and encompassing method statements in place. These measures ensured the teams were safe, the UXO’s were removed efficiently and the client received a world class service”

Due to the complex and unpredictable nature of the project, JFMS had to work within narrow weather windows and often in shallow waters with rough tides. Target location, ROVs, detonation specialists and bespoke UXO support vessels were all used as part of a turnkey solution, ensuring the precise and efficient delivery of the project.

Two vessels were deployed for the duration on the project, with specialist divers used to locate and remove the UXOs during the day and ROVs dispatched to detect and excavate through the night. This dual-pronged approach sped up the clearance process and reduced the delay to the client’s start date. 

Daniel concluded: 

“Offshore wind turbine sites are often plagued with UXO’s and are a continual problem we come up against during construction. Due to the expertise JFMS showed throughout the excavation process we will most likely be using their services again”  

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