On a recent survey in the Baltic Sea off Poland I was searching for chemical weapons in 100 meters of water. We first deployed AUV’s to search for targets then send our ROV for a more detailed investigation. What was very strange was that there was no life on the seabed and the water column for about 30 meters in depths. All I could find was chemical weapons scatter along the seabed and shipwrecks with conventional and chemical weapons. Its no longer uncommon to find dead zones and munitions in the same area. In some cases the nitrates play a role by removing oxygen from the marine environment. Left unchecked these weapons will destroy the seas and ocean. Its just a matter of time before chemical releases from other regions meet one another. The releases from chemical weapons attack juvenile fish ability to reproduce that in many cases is mistaken for over fishing.
Also of concern is how technology has developed over the last few years for the marine sector. Today you can easily find information on the location of chemical weapons sites, some in shallow water with easy access for use as a Terror Weapons. It shocked me the good state some of these weapons we found on the seabed. In many anoxic zones the decay of the weapons has stopped because of the lack of oxygen, which allows for chemical weapon to be recovered in good shape and reused. This was recently discuss at a Side Event at OPCW HQ hosted by the Lithuanian Embassy in The Hague and International Dialogue on Underwater Munitions (IDUM), however I do not think the State Parties took us seriously when we told them a well trained EOD specialist or ISS could recover and reuse chemical weapons with the right technology and money.
IDUM was hoping for support and leadership from the OPCW to MAP the sites at RISK and Prioritize them based on risk of reuse. IDUM has a few meters of documents on global sea dumped weapons sites but hasn’t funds to put it in a database for use by approved stakeholders. A database would allow the international community and organizations like the OPCW, Homeland Security, Marine and Coastal Agencies to monitor underwater weapons sites thereby reducing the risk of recovery and reuse.
Conventional underwater weapons have been recovered and reused in a terroir plot which leads one to believe its just a matter of time before chemical weapons are recovered for reuse against the Public. The OPCW has demonstrated many times that they aren’t forward thinking people when it comes to underwater chemical weapons. They openly state that when they run out of things to do than they may look at underwater chemical weapons in 2025. NOT because they are a danger to you and me but when they run out of things to do. IDUM an international NGO has continually demonstrate leadership when it come to addressing these weapons. These chemical weapons need to be under its own Treaty not the OPCW. Lets ask Prime Minster Justin Trudeau to implement the Senate Hearings Findings of the Canadian Senate Standing Committee on Fishery for the Canadian Government to call on the United Nations for a Conference on Sea Dumped Weapons. Please email Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on LinkedIn and ask him to call on the UN for this Conference.
Terrance P. Long
International dialogue on Underwater Munitions (IDUM)