Deputy Minister Spahiu: From 92,651 tons of munitions in 2009, circa 38,845 tons of ammunitions remain to be destroyed, of which 26,000 tons will be eliminated in 2012.
30 March 2012
Deputy Defence Minister, Mr. Ekrem Spahiu, accompanied by Deputy Chief of General Staff of the Armed Forces, Brigadier General Zyber Dushku and Chief of Staff of the Logistics Brigade, Colonel Perikli Tiko, held today a press conference, where, through a detailed report presented publicly the work done so far by the Armed Forces structures on the dismantling of surplus ammunition.
Since 1992, emphasized Mr. Spahiu, the Armed Forces managed circa 194,000 tons of military munitions, deposited in hundreds of storehouses, tunnels and warehouses spread across the country.
In 2009, the Ministry of Defence and General Staff drafted an action plan for disposal of 92,651 tons of ammunition of different caliber types, which were left by the past regime. According to Mr. Spahiu, this amount of ammunition was mainly Russian production, period between 1945-1960, Chinese production, period between 1961-1976 and Albanian production, period between 1967-1992. About 95% of them had a production age of over 40 years old, when according to specialists and experts from other countries, munitions life expectancy is 15-20 years.
“The beginning of reforms in 1992, restructuring of the Armed Forces and reduction of military units, caused the accumulation of munitions in the nearby depots overfilling them over the storage capacity and increasing significantly the risks. Meanwhile, Albania’s NATO membership required the review of the Armed Forces’ completion standards with munitions, storage, conservation and management, as well as enhancing safety and premises to eliminate unwanted events”, - stressed among other Albanian Deputy Minister of Defence.
In order to achieve successfully this task, emphasized Mr. Spahiu, required a more efficient coordination at the Ministry of Defence and improvement of legal base for implementation of this important task. By order of the Minister of Defence was created the Management Board for destruction of ammunition in the Armed Forces. This board set up the working group on preparing the Action Plan for the disposal of ammunition and detailing all the steps to be taken to manage these munitions, with the aim to eliminate the entire quantity of surplus ammunition by 2013.
Following his speech, Deputy Minister Spahiu explained the methods defined for the destruction of ammunition, such as destruction in military facilities through industrial dismantling, destruction by burning and detonation in open shooting ranges, reducing the amount of ammunition by shooting exercises and shooting competitions, and export of munitions through sale or donation of partner countries.
Highlighting some of the major achievements, Mr. Spahiu said: “In the year 2010 were destroyed 20,653 tons of surplus ammunition, 2,000 tons of more dangerous munitions, were eliminated a quantity of 157 tons of RDX explosives of the type (of which 47 tons were destroyed by the Armed Forces and 110 tons were exported), four new lines were established and adapted for industrial dismantling in the military plants and six additional ranges were approved by law. In the framework of cooperation with partners, the OSCE provided a range of equipment for industrial dismantling of ammunition, while the U.S. State Department was funded the disposal of 3,000 tons of ammunition. During 2011, were destroyed 26,613 tons of ammunition of different types and calibers, from 25,000 tons which was planned. While the total quantity of munitions destroyed during 2009-2011, is 53,806 tons. Meanwhile, the reformation of the Armed Forces, the total quantity of surplus ammunition left and to be destroyed during the period 2012-2013, is circa 38,845 tons of ammunition, of which 26,000 tons will be eliminated in 2012.”
A special place in the speech of Mr. Spahiu took the work being done and that will continue to be done, for the realization of dismantling of left ammunition in 2012 and until the end of 2013. “The Ministry of Defence and General Staff of Armed Forces and subordinate structures, have taken all measures to continue the destruction of ammunition according to the Action Plan of 2012 and complete the process within the first half of 2013”, - said the Deputy Defence Minister Mr. Ekrem Spahiu.
At the end of his statement, he thanked all military and civilian employees who are engaged and continue to successfully engage in the full realization of this difficult and dangerous process.