Unexploded WWII Ordnance Removed from Istrian City of Pula

Lauren Simmonds

As Morski writes on the 5th of November, 2020, the end of the action of removing the remaining unexploded ordnance from the Second World War in the area of Vallelunga in the Istrian city of Pula was announced on November the 4th at a press conference held by the mayor of that Istrian city, Boris Miletic, the director of the port authority Dalibor Brnos and the head of MUP’s anti-explosion service, Marijan Nikolaus.

The clearing up of Vallelunga’s terrain on the northern side of the Bay of Pula from was finally completed on Tuesday, November the 3rd, 2020, and destruction began on November the 4th at the Marlera test site.

”As soon as the explosive devices were discovered, aware that this could pose a danger to the health of our citizens, we immediately launched an initiative to protect and fence off this area so that there would be no free access and possible unwanted consequences. After that, we started the process of removing it all and Id like to thank the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Defense, without which we wouldn’t have been able to do this on our own,” stated Mayor Boris Miletic.

The very first phase of the removal of the unexploded WWII ordnance from the Istrian city was completed in February this year, and also included the clearing of trees and low-lying vegetation. The situation with the COVID-19 pandemic slowed down and prolonged the continuation of these works, and at the end of June 2020, the second phase of terrain rehabilitation was completed, which included the disposal of the ordnance and the preparation of the route for the arrival of an armored excavator, done in close cooperation with the Directorate of Civil Protection, the Croatian Armed Forces, and the Istrian Police Administration. The third and final phase of removing the unexploded ordnance began in September this year. The works were supposed to be completed during the month of September, but more unexploded ordnance was discovered in unexpected areas.

The head of the anti-explosion service of the Ministry of the Interior, Marijan Nikolaus, said that during the operation, they inspected 10,000 square metres in Vallelunga and removed more than 8,000 cubic metres of various construction materials, including about 60 tonnes of explosives, including everything from hand grenades to artillery shells.

The full destruction of the discovered unexploded WWII ordnance will take two weeks, during which two explosions will be heard a day at intervals. The destruction is taking place in strictly controlled conditions and there is no danger for anyone, and upon completion of the entire action, the area will be reopened once again as normal.

When discussing the plans for the future, the director of the Pula Port Authority, Dalibor Brnos, said that a passenger terminal for maritime traffic would be built in the area, which would be able to receive even the largest vessels of up to 400 metres in length.

”What awaits us is obtaining a location permit and talking to potential investors. The project will have significant economic effects not only for Pula, but also for Istria County as a whole,” concluded Brnos.

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