Vinh Linh, Quang Tri (14 April 2016) – An Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) team managed by RENEW today safely removed a white phosphorous naval shell from near a beach widely acclaimed as the “Queen of Beaches” in Quang Tri Province – in adjacent An Hoa Quarter of Cua Tung Townlet.
Local workers building an embankment to protect against landslides yesterday afternoon found a piece of wartime ordnance while leveling a sand pile at the construction site. The ordnance, suddenly exposed to open air, began to emit smoke which frightened the workers and halted their work immediately as they called for help.
They quickly reported the incident to the chief of Cua Tung Border Guard Post who assigned officers to establish a safety cordon around the ordnance. The chief then reported the discovery to Vinh Linh District Military Command, who called Project RENEW asking for emergency support.
When the report reached Project RENEW yesterday afternoon, it was too late in the day to respond before nightfall. So early this morning EOD Team No. 2 and National Technical Advisor Bui Trong Hong traveled to Cua Tung Beach. Upon arrival, they found a five-inch naval projectile which they knew contained white phosphorous, because smoke was still curling out from its casing.
Using water to put douse the smoke, Hong and Team Leader Hoang Duc Long used a mixture of lime and water with bandages to wrap the entire shell, to seal it and stop the leaking. After the plaster coating had dried, the shell was safely loaded onto the team’s truck. After informing the Cua Tung Border Guard Post of the successful completion of the task, the team transported the shell to the demolition site for safe destruction.
“The shell was blowing smoke because the casing was damaged and leaking,” explained Bui Trong Hong, retired colonel from the People’s Army of Viet Nam who has been working with Project RENEW since 2008. “This is an indication of high danger, because the item might explode at certain temperatures,” Hong said. “So we had to act quickly to prevent a tragic accident.”
Since March 2015, Project RENEW’s teams have conducted 223 EOD quick response tasks in Vinh Linh District and safely removed and destroyed 321 items of UXO.
Project RENEW’s UXO Survey and Clearance Program is funded by the U.S. Department of State through primary partner Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA). More information about NPA’s work in Viet Nam can be found here.