At least 31 million pounds of unexploded bombs are lying in ocean dumpsites just off U.S. coastal waters, researchers claim.
Thousands of gallons of deadly mustard gas lie off the New Jersey coast, Texas A&M oceanographers William Bryant and Niall Slowey say with other dumpsites in the Gulf of Mexico, off Hawaii, and in other areas.
“The amount that has been dumped was unbelievable,” Bryant told Fox News
. “No one seems to have reported seeing explosives in the Gulf. We felt it was our responsibility to report it.”
Sea disposal was an accepted international practice until relatively recently Bryant and Slowey say — it was banned in the United States only in 1970 — but the sheer amount off the coast is mindblowing, especially as the state of the munitions cannot be easily determined.
Confiscated weapons, including those made for use by Nazi Germany, are among those believed to be sitting on the ocean bed.
“Is there an environmental risk? We don’t know, and that in itself is reason to worry,” Bryant said. “We just don’t know much at all about these bombs, and it’s been 40 to 60 years that they’ve been down there.”
Bryant told the Environment News Service (ENS) that his first thought when he heard about the Deepwater Explosion oil well explosion in 2011 was that it could have been a bomb.
"The best guess is that at least 31 million pounds of bombs were dumped, but that could be a very conservative estimate,” Bryant told ENS.
“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.”
The researchers say unexploded bombs are closest to Texas and Louisiana and there have been reports of shrimpers dredging up hissing barrels that could be mustard gas.
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