Finds of unexploded ordnance (UXO)

Each year, many different UXOs are found in Sweden. Do not touch or disturb any such items in any way. Mark the location and call the police.

A UXO item is found. Photo: Niklas Englund/Swedish Armed Forces
This UXO was found in the town of Nora. It is a 305 mm grenade, weighing more than 350 kg and an estimated charge of nearly 20 kg, had it been live. Photo: Michael Henebratt/Swedish Armed Forces
Grenade found at the bottom of a lake in Värmland in August 2020. Photo: Swedish Armed Forces

Never touch a suspect UXO item

Particularly during the summer, it is common that people find grenades and other kinds of UXOs in lakes, forests, basements and attics. For a layman it is nearly impossible to assess the condition of the item and how dangerous it may be. Therefore, if you find a suspect UXO you must never touch or in any way disturb the item.

Instead, follow these simple actions on finding a suspicious item:

  • Leave the site without touching the item(s).
  • Mark the location, especially if it is at sea, but maintain a safe distance to the item.
  • Warn others, for example if the item is found on a popular beach.
  • Contact the nearest police authority.

The police may request assistance from the military experts of the Armed Forces to attend and dispose of the item in a secure way. Most finds prove to be harmless, but it takes an expert to assess them.

Unexploded ordnances may come in many shapes and forms. A grenade may not always be in the shape of a projectile. There are many different types of foreign hand grenades in circulation.

UXO found at sea

Explosive remnants of war (ERW), such as mines, ammunition and chemical weapons dating back to the two World Wars can still be found in the Baltic Sea and along the Swedish West coast as well as in some lakes and in old mines. If you find a UXO it is important that you do not touch it and that you report your find to the authorities.

If you find a UXO at sea

Always treat mines and unexploded ordnances as dangerous. 

If you find a suspicious UXO sea follow these simple actions:

  • If the item has been taken on board your boat, close off as much area around it as possible.
  • If the item is outside the ship’s rails and, if possible, if the safety of the crew allows, return it to the sea. Note the location and place buoys around the site.
  • If the item cannot be returned to the sea, the ship must be anchored windward of the find. The crew must not be close to, or stand in the direction of the wind of the item.
  • If the item is on board in an area below deck, all work must cease and the area be sealed off.
  • Contact the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre (JRCC) on VHF channel 16 or call 112, SOS Alarm, Swedish Rescue Services.

If someone has come into contact with chemical weapons, take them outside and rinse their eyes. Contaminated items of clothing must be removed and put in plastic bags. Wipe down the person’s body using talcum powder or flour. Then wash them with soap and water for ten minutes.