Expert says junk military ordnance in the Gulf of Mexico poses threat to shipping channels

// October 3rd, 2012 // General Science News


Diver touching unexploded bomb on ocean floorOceanographers at Texas A&M University have warned that the millions of pounds of unexploded bombs scattered throughout the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, pose serious threats to the shipping lanes that run through those regions. Discarded military ordnance, including one thousand pound bombs the size of file cabinets and chemical weapons canisters containing dangerous mustard gas, have been dumped in the Gulf and other sites from 1946 through 1970 when the practice was finally banned.

Nobody , not even the military official themselves, know how many millions of pounds of unexploded ordnance (UXOs) have been dumped. Record keeping of dump sites is incomplete and oceanographers believe many were “short dumped” meaning they were dumped outside of their designated dumping areas. Professor or Oceanography, William Bryant said:

“The best guess is that at least 31 million pounds of bombs were dumped, but that could be a very conservative estimate. And these were all kinds of bombs, from land mines to the standard military bombs, also several types of chemical weapons. Our military also dumped bombs offshore that they got from Nazi Germany right after World War II. No one seems to know where all of them are and what condition they are in today.”

Photos show discarded bombs and leaking chemical weapons lying on the ocean floor. Fishermen have reported catching bombs and drums of mustard gas in their nets. Divers have documented finding hundreds of unexploded bombs in shipping channels and near coasts where they have slowly washed up.

“We surveyed some of them on trips to the Gulf within the past few years. Ten are about 60 miles out and others are about 100 miles out. The next closest dump site to Texas is in Louisiana, not far from where the Mississippi River delta area is in the Gulf. “

Sources: Science Daily, Texas A&M University
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