MoD Capability Gap on Unexploded Ordnance

Last week, an unexploded 50kg World War Two bomb was found in the River Thames.  The operation by the Royal Navy and Metropolitan Police forced Waterloo Bridge, Westminster Bridge and Victoria Embankment in central London to shut. 

I originally highlighted the problem of UXO when an unexploded British-made seamine was found near an outdoor swimming pool in Gourock. Another World War Two era mine was later entangled in a trawler’s net near the Isle of Cumbrae. 

Following a meeting with UK Government ministers regarding the issue, I met with industry experts who have extensive experience of identifying and dealing with UXO.

Bernie Morrison of PanGeo Subsea and Calum MacMillan of Argyll Workboats Ltd indicated that the existing technology currently used by Royal Navy Minesweepers has difficulty in accurately detecting UXOs located beneath the seabed.

It is very concerning to learn of another unexploded ordnance being found in our waters, this time right on the doorstep of Parliament.

I’ve raised this issue on a number of occasions with the Ministry of Defence, although it’s quite evident they are not listening or taking heed of the warnings.

While other countries clear their shores, the UK Government continues to deny that we have a UXO problem.

It’s also disappointing that the MOD refused my meeting request to discuss how Scottish companies could be part of the solution in making our waters safer from UXOs.

I will continue to press the MoD on this issue as we cannot afford to wait until a serious incident occurs.