Subsea excavation specialists Marin Group recently played a key role in clearing unexploded ordnance from the route of three new pipelines crucial to Iraq's future oil exports, according to an article in Maritime Journal.
Operating company Marin Subsea Ltd was contracted by UK based Maritime and Underwater Security Consultants (MUSC), which had been awarded overall responsibility for making safe the Persian Gulf pipeline corridors linking Iraqi onshore production facilities to the export hubs at al-Basra and Khor al-Amaya oil terminals, southeast of the Al Faw Peninsula.
MUSC, specialists in the disposal of subsea un-exploded ordnance (UXO), and pipeline security, urgently required fast response excavation support for divers tasked with mitigating classified targets, and chose Marin Subsea for the company's expertise as the pioneers of mass-flow excavation and clay cutting technology as well as a 30-plus year track record of operating in hostile marine environments.
The Marin team were also able to point to previous experience of using MFE and claycutting techniques, both non-contact methods using water to excavate non-cohesive and cohesive subsea soils, at suspected UXO sites, including a 1992 project for the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) in Beaufort's Dyke, and a 2005 project excavating and removing WW2 ordnance along a pipeline route in Sicily.
For the Iraq project, a suite of Marin's patented proprietary technology was mobilised to the four point moored barge AOS Constructor, and included the centrepiece Evo 150 STE and HTE mass-flow excavation tools plus a customised high impact pulse water jetting system and a selection of diver hand-held tools.
Marin Group primarily serves the energy sector, supplying a range of specialist excavation and subsea support services to oil, gas and renewables clients worldwide from bases in Scotland and Asia.
CEO George Stroud said the Iraq project had been exceptionally challenging for the eight strong team, who had to work in temperatures of up to 50°C.
He said, "They had to operate in the middle of a highprofile security zone, had Iraqi guards on board at all times, and every target had to be treated as an UXO.
"However, MUSC's contracted ex-Navy clearance diving and security specialists and our skilled operation of the Evo technology proved a very fast and effective combination.
"We were working in waters of between 3m to 35m. The diver would first pinpoint the target, using hand-held surveying tools and a UXO detector. If they could identify the target, that was all that was required. However, most were lodged below the seabed, and then the Marin Subsea team would carry out specialist spot excavation to expose the targets.”
Marin personnel were also involved in recovering debris, which included 4,800 white phosphorous pre-WW2 shells found across six locations.
The contract lasted nearly 12 months and was completed in August 2011.
(Source: Maritime Journal)