Explosive Ordnance Disposal Service
The Explosive Ordnance Disposal Service (EOD) is responsible for detecting, identifying and disposing of conventional and improvised explosives, both on land and in the water. The EOD’s tasks also include the protection of Dutch units on missions abroad.
One of the tasks of the EOD is clearing explosive ordnance from the Second World War. The heightened terrorist threat after the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001 has increased the demand for the services of the EOD considerably. A suspicious package on a train, at the airport or in a shopping street; these days the EOD is regularly called upon to investigate this kind of situation. The EOD is also deployed for specific tasks such as recovering a crashed military aircraft or if a fishing vessel has an aircraft bomb caught in its nets.
Protecting Dutch military personnel in mission areas is another of the main tasks of the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Service. The greatest danger to Dutch military personnel on operations in Afghanistan lies in Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), buried so as to be invisible, along patrol routes. The threat emanating from these IEDs in the province of Uruzgan emphasises the importance of this part of the EOD’s work.
As of 1998, the detection of explosives in the Netherlands is no longer the exclusive domain of the EOD; civil companies are also allowed to carry out this task. Police explosive ordnance disposal scouts are trained to look for improved explosive devices. The actual detonation of unexploded ordnance is still only carried out by the EOD, however.
Various EOD teams are active every day, both in the Netherlands and in mission areas. A team dispatched to clear conventional or improvised explosive ordnance on land consists of several disposal experts. If the clearance operation is carried out at sea, the EOD team is complemented by one or more divers.