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Kick-off for Systematic Munitions Clearance in the Baltic Sea: north.io Participates in GEOMAR Info Day

Kick-off for Systematic Munitions Clearance in the Baltic Sea: north.io Participates in GEOMAR Info Day

Kiel, Germany. On June 24, north.io CEO Jann Wendt (37) participated in the GEOMAR event "Munitionsräumung - Jetzt geht's los!" held at the GEOMAR Lithothek and Lecture Hall in Kiel. This event marked the commencement of systematic munitions clearance in the Baltic Sea, attracting a diverse audience, including experts from research, politics, industry, and the military, as well as the general public.

Alexander Bach from Ministry for Energy Transition, Climate Protection, Environment and Nature in Schleswig-Holstein welcomed the audience.

Alexander Bach from Ministry for Energy Transition, Climate Protection, Environment and Nature in Schleswig-Holstein welcomed the audience.
 
Exhibition and Project Insights

The event featured a traveling exhibition titled "Toxic Legacies of War – North Sea Wrecks" by the German Maritime Museum Bremerhaven. This exhibition offered multimedia stations with information on numerous shipwrecks in the North Sea that still contain wartime munitions and toxic remnants.

Visitors from the public engaged with the interactive exhibition.

Visitors from the public engaged with the interactive exhibition.

 

north.io played a pivotal role in developing the software basis for the wreck tool used in this project. This tool allows authorities and other users to manage wreck data, perform risk assessments, and prioritize wrecks for decision-making. Machine learning techniques have greatly facilitated this process, making it more efficient and effective.

 

Significance of the North Sea Wrecks Project

Jann Wendt remarked on the significance of this achievement, stating,

"The successful completion of the North Sea Wrecks project demonstrates the importance of international collaboration in addressing environmental challenges. Our software application is now a blueprint for various maritime use cases, including critical Infrastructure protection and environmental monitoring."

The European cultural channel ARTE produced  a powerful documentary about the  North Sea Wrecks Project.

 
Watch the documentary here with English subtitles.
 
Information Stands and Short Lectures

Various information stands were set up by participants from research institutions, the German Navy, bomb disposal units, and clearance companies. These stands displayed equipment, munitions finds, and provided insights into the technologies and efforts surrounding marine munitions.

At the invitation of GEOMAR, north.io and other organisations presented their work at the information day.

At the invitation of GEOMAR, north.io and other organisations presented their work at the information day.

 

Public Outreach

Highlights of the event were four short lectures with Q&A sessions: 

  1. "Munition im Meer – das Problem" by Prof. Dr. Jens Greinert, GEOMAR
  2. "Wracks – ein weiteres Munitionsrisiko“ by Dr. Matthias Brenner, AWI.
  3. "Toxikologische Auswirkungen mariner Munition" by Prof. Dr. Edmund Maser, Kiel University
  4. "Munitionsräumung – jetzt geht’s los“ by Dr.-Ing. Wolfgang Sichermann, Seascape GmbH.

Presentation of the KIS-SH System

A notable feature of the event was the presentation by the Schleswig-Holstein Bomb Disposal Unit on the Kampfmittel Informationssystem Schleswig-Holstein (KIS-SH), an internet-based software application developed by north.io. The KIS-SH system streamlines all administrative and digital work processes of the bomb disposal unit on a single platform, serving as a centralized hub to access and manage key information such as bomb sites and aerial images. This innovation represents a significant advancement in digitalizing and optimizing the workflows of the bomb disposal unit in Schleswig-Holstein.

Oliver Kinast, director of the Schleswig-Holstein Bomb Disposal Unit presented  KIS-SH.
 
Oliver Kinast, director of the Schleswig-Holstein Bomb Disposal Unit presented  KIS-SH.
 
Reflections and Future Impact

Reflecting on the significance of the event, Jann Wendt commented,

"Participating in the start of this crucial project underscores our commitment to leveraging technology for environmental and public safety. The KIS-SH system exemplifies how digital solutions can enhance operational efficiency and effectiveness in critical areas such as munitions disposal. We are proud to contribute to this important initiative and look forward to the positive impact it will have on marine safety and environmental protection."

Wendt added, "Our True Ocean platform can significantly contribute to solving the munitions problem by providing comprehensive data integration and advanced analytics capabilities, enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of munitions clearance operations in the Baltic Sea."

 

Background

It is estimated that 300,000 tons of conventional munitions were dumped off the coast of Schleswig-Holstein in the Baltic Sea after the World Wars. These munitions, including rusting sea mines, bombs, and shells, contain toxic TNT and pose significant environmental risks. Thanks to a €100 million emergency program by the Federal Ministry for the Environment (BMUV), a pilot clearance project will begin this summer in Lübeck Bay, with GEOMAR playing a crucial role in both the clearance and the scientific monitoring of the project.

The immediate action programme lays the foundations for the systematic recovery and disposal of munitions in the sea.

The immediate action programme lays the foundations for the systematic recovery and disposal of munitions in the sea.

 
north.io's Role in UXO Management

As a geodata cloud specialist based in Kiel, north.io has developed innovative methods to streamline risk management, incorporate environmental data, and to locate military remnants in the North and Baltic Seas using artificial intelligence. north.io provides insights into how historical documents and deep learning algorithms are utilized to pinpoint munitions, enabling safe and efficient clearance by authorities. 

 

More information on Munitions in the Sea

If you would like to learn more about the topic of munitions in the sea, you can find a good overview in the conference summary of the Kiel Munition Clearance Week, which north.io organised in 2021 with the support of the state of Schleswig-Holstein.

 

 Photo rights held by Klara Liebrecht
Film rights are held by ARTE

 

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