Wild Facts Series: Weapons Horror Under Water
Our oceans: Convenient dump sites for chemical weapons
[And a number of nuclear weapons are lying down there, too!]
Our oceans have long been used as a convenient weapons dump for the military. Hundreds of thousands of tons of surplus chemical weapons including large quantities of arsenic, cyanide, mustard gas, sarin gas and VX nerve gas are dumped off the US Atlantic coast as well as off other countries.
Dumping chemical weapons – Millions of pounds of mustard gas canisters were jettisoned into the Atlantic Ocean off New Jersey (1964) and elsewhere. (Photo: The U.S. Army)
The U.S. Army has admitted to dumping 30 million kg (64 million pounds) of chemical weapons alone into U.S. waters between World War II and early 1970s. But that’s only tip of the iceberg because the Army also says years of record have gone missing.
These weapons of mass destruction virtually ring the country, concealed off at least 11 states – six on the East Coast, two on the Gulf Coast, California, Hawaii and Alaska. Few, if any, state officials have been informed of their existence.
Some of chemical weapons dump sites off the US Atlantic coast. Image Credit: Daily Press. Image may be subject to copyright.
Millions of mustard gas-filled ammunition’s were dumped off the United States coasts, and other countries.
Dead Dolphins – Hundreds of dolphins were washed ashore in Virginia and New Jersey shorelines in 1987 with burns similar to mustard gas exposure. A marine-mammal specialist believes chemical weapons dumped in the ocean by the US Army killed them. (Photo courtesy of the Marine Mammal Stranding Center in New Jersey). Source
Chemical Weapons Disposal By Scuttling – The SS William Ralston filled with more than 300,000 mustard gas bombs and 1,500 1-ton canisters of Lewsite is sunk in the Pacific Ocean off San Fransico in 1958. (Photo: The U.S. Army)
Here’s a brief chronology:
1957: 48 tons of lewisite were dumped off the coast of New Jersey.
1967 – 4,577 tons of mustard agent and 7,380 M55 sarin were dumped.
1968 – 38 one-ton containers of sarin gas and VX nerve gas were dumped,
1968 – 1,460 vaults of M55 sarin gas and VX rockets and 120 drums of arsenic and cyanide canisters.
Barge loaded with mustard gas canisters – The canisters were later dumped somewhere in the Atlantic ocean in 1964. (Photo: The U.S. Army)
For more photos click here!
The US military secretly dumped chemical weapons in the oceans for decades, from 1944 to 1970.
Hundreds of people have been seriously injured as some of the weapons have washed up on shore or ended up in fishermen’s nets.
“Overseas, fishermen have been hurt by chemical weapons the United States secretly sank, from the Riviera to Australia.” John Bull of Daily Press reported.
“It’s a disaster looming – a time bomb,” said Dr. Gert Harigel, a physicist, who’s a member of the Geneva International Peace Research Institute. “The scientific community knows very little about it. It scares me a lot.”
The US military created at least 30 chemical weapon dump sites and secretly dumped surplus chemical weapons from the end of World War II until 1970, but has scant record of where some of those dump sites were, or what exactly they dumped there. The extremely volatile dangerous weapons remain corroding in the dump sites.
Offshore seismic activity can accelerate the leakage and failure rate of chemical weapons, according to Cindy Zipf, executive director of Clean Ocean Action.
“Our ocean floor is littered with chemical weapons. We’re talking about significant sonar pulses, and we don’t know what they would do during the testing stage … All of those canisters have been rotting away, and poking around could have catastrophic results on releasing 64 million pounds of chemical weapons.” Zipf said.
A bomb disposal expert from Dover Air Force Base, Del., was burned in 2004 by a mustard gas shell found in a driveway. (Photo: The U.S. Army).
The military, it was revealed, dumped large piles of chemical weapons in the ocean off Hawaii between 1944 and 1946. At least 2,000 conventional munitions lay on the seabed less than 1km off Waianae, Oahu, in a region named Ordnance Reef.
U.S.-made deadly weapons were dumped off the coasts of at least 11 other countries including Australia, China, Denmark, France, India, Italy, New Zealand, Norway, Panama, the Philippines, the former Soviet Union and unidentified “Latin American countries.”
A treaty which was also signed by the United States in 1975 prohibits dumping of chemical munitions in the ocean, however, it does not cover the dump sites created prior to the treaty date. Further, as the weapons dump sites are considered to be in international waters the U.S. government bears no legal responsibility to remove them, according to Peter Kaiser, a spokesperson for the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, at The Hague, Netherlands.
Dumps Created by Other countries
After World War II, the Canadian navy dumped thousands of tons of ammunition and explosives into the waters, the report stated.
In 1973, nearly 100 fishermen were injured by chemical warfare agents dumped by either U.S. occupation forces or the Japanese military toward the end of World War II.
In 2003 the Australians discovered that their military had dumped more than 30 million kg of chemical weapons off the coast of Brisbane.
The Canadians, having discovered three major offshore chemical weapons dump sites, believe there may be as many as 1,200 other sites off Nova Scotia and Vancouver Island in British Columbia, north of Washington state, created both the Canadian and the U.S. military.
Nuclear Weapons Lost in the Water
And to top it all, the US military has lost 11 nuclear bombs at sea.