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New methods for handling environmentally hazardous shipwrecks

There are almost 20,000 shipwrecks around the coast of Sweden. Most of these do not threaten the environment, while others pose a clear threat. RISE corrosion experts participated in a study of four of these wrecks.

The Swedish Government tasked the Swedish Maritime Administration with carrying out an inventory to identify shipwrecks that constitute an environmental hazard in Swedish territorial waters. The study, in which RISE participated, pointed out 31 wrecks as being of particular interest.

Inspections as a basis for future risk analyses

Four wrecks, lying at depths between 18-74 metres, where specifically studied: Villon outside Simrishamn, Skytteren outside Måseskär, Thetis outside Kungshamn and Altnes outside Falkenberg.

“The goal was to develop a standardised procedure that could be used in the future inspection of environmentally hazardous wrecks. The data gathered in these inspections will be used to conduct risk analyses and prioritise necessary measures,” says Ulf Olsson, head of hydrographic surveying at The Swedish Maritime Administration.

Corrosion specialists assess leak risks

Corrosion is one of the main causes of leaking environmentally hazardous loads. RISE has 50 years of research and development experience in the field of corrosion. This competence has been stated as an important element of the project.

"We have participated in the preparation of a standardised procedure and risk analysis methodology for obtaining uniform assessments of the corrosion status of shipwrecks," says Ulf Sender.

The project has now been presented to the Government Offices of Sweden and it is expected that the results will be of major significance to future decisions of monitoring and systematically cleaning up environmentally hazardous wrecks.

Michael Rahm


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