Offshore bomb disposal company Eodex has teamed up with actress Joanna Lumley to celebrate the success of a campaign aimed at changing how unexploded war munitions retrieved from the sea are disposed of.
Marine conservation charities are also involved in the initiative, which has gained widespread support.
The goal is to have explosives found offshore neutralised in a quieter fashion in order to cause minimal disruption to marine habitats.
Ms Lumley, who is both a model and TV star of shows including Absolutely Fabulous, has hailed UK Government support for undetonated explosives found in the sea to be cleared using quieter, less invasive methods.
A policy paper published last Tuesday (November 16) backed the use of “lower noise alternatives” instead of “high order detonation”.
Campaigners using the hashtag #StopSeaBlasts say “this change in perspective” comes with the recognition marine wildlife can be injured by sound from blasts.
A statement issued by the group said: “It is important these devices are dealt with before structures in the sea such as wind farms are built.”
Today is a wonderful day for all those who care about our seas and the magnificent creatures that live in them.”
A large number of rockets, torpedoes and sea mines are still present after the two world wars.
Eodex specialises in the safe and environmentally friendly removal and disposal of unexploded ordnance (Uxo) around the world.
It recently opened a Scottish base at the Energy Park in Bridge of Don, Aberdeen.
Andrew Woollven, the firm’s managing director, said: “Eodex is delighted to have directly supported Joanna Lumley and has been intrinsically involved in every stage of the #StopSeaBlasts campaign.
“The government’s decision paper now identifies low order deflagration, in which we lead the commercial world, as the preferred option for clearance of Uxos for subsea projects – which is an enormous victory for marine biodiversity.”
Eodex also has offices in Portsmouth, Bognor Regis and London.
The company supports a wide range of offshore and underwater work, and also provides precise explosive cutting systems for decommissioning projects.
Its new Aberdeen base is focused on projects in the North Sea and Scottish waters.
The firm works closely with Alford Technologies, another #StopSeaBlasts partner, whose bomb disposal products and services are used by armed forces, governments and commercial customers around the world.
“This is a victory for commonsense.”
Ms Lumley, 75, said: “The government has, as far as I understand it, for the first time, clearly stated that using more environmentally friendly of clearing these unexploded bombs such as low order deflagration is the way forward.
“This is a victory for commonsense.
“I thank the ministers for taking this bold step as well as all the supportive MPs and peers who have got behind this.
“And of course, I thank the 120,000 people who have supported this campaign. Days like this show just what can be achieved.
“There’ll be matters of detail to resolve, but today is a wonderful day for all those who care about our seas and the magnificent creatures that live in them.”
A technological alternative to the loud explosions is low order deflagration, which the campaigners say involves a small magnesium cone being fired at the device “causing its explosive contents to ‘burn out’ from the inside”.
Ms Lumley said the deflagration method was 100 times less damaging than blasts that currently threaten whales, dolphins and other marine life, adding that adopting the technology was a “no-brainer”.