Tom Rancich, co-founder and CEO of VRHabilis, LLC, wrote an abstract that was selected for presentation at the Third International Dialogue on Underwater Munitions in Sopot, Poland, April 12-15, 2011. Here is the abstract as it appears in the official program:
Underwater Munitions Location, Mapping, Analysis and Removal
VRHabilis Diving Department is comprised of former US Navy Deep Sea Divers, Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technicians, and US Navy Special Warfare (SEAL) and Surface Warfare personnel. VRHabilis has been conducting operations to locate, map, analyze and remove unexploded ordnance from rivers, lakes, tributaries and coastal oceans around the United States since August of 2008. In that time, VRHabilis has removed thousands of pieces of ordnance and analyzed hundreds of underwater acres of ordnance pollution.
Treatise: Underwater ordnance presents a unique set of challenges, as well documented and understood by members of the International Dialogue on Underwater Munitions (IDUM). VRHabilis understands this unique set of challenges and has successfully operated with them over the last four years. The reason that VRHabilis has been successful in our endeavors is that our personnel have over 300 years of combined experience operating in every type of maritime environment completing extremely complex operations. That experience is critical for the following reasons:
- The trend in the United States is to treat the underwater UXO problem the same as the land problem. This is fundamentally flawed. Not only must underwater sites be treated differently than land sites, but each underwater site must be treated differently, bringing to bear all possible solutions to develop the best course(s) of action. Though many sites will have similar assets applied to the solution, there will be no cookie cutter solution. Due to the dynamic nature of the underwater environment, an underwater UXO operation is distinctly unique from a land operation. UXO discussion on point one will juxtapose the VRHabilis Humpback Bridge Emergency Response with the Alderwood Lake Underwater UXO Sweep.
- As the environment is dynamic so must be the solution. Flexibility in planning and execution of the production operation is a necessity in underwater UXO activities. That fact requires a different type of work force; one trained and encouraged to innovate and keen to be involved in the planning process. Discussion on point two will be analysis of deep water operations off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard.
- The problem facing IDUM is a production problem; a production that must be safe, efficient, cost effective, and beneficial. The underwater UXO defense explosives, i.e., mines, in military operations. That expertise must be balanced with professionals with production experience. Discussion on point three will juxtapose shallow water mine operations in Desert Storm with the Martha’s Vineyard Time Critical Removal Action. The full development of this abstract will compile, analyze and compare years of successful experience in underwater operations and UXO removal. At the conclusion the audience will have a better understanding of problems encountered throughout the planning and execution of underwater UXO removal actions and subsequent solutions.
For more information and the other abstracts presented at the Underwater Munitions dialogue, download a PDF of the official program. Mr. Rancich’s abstract appears on page 22. We will publish a copy of the full speech as soon as it is available.