Staggering amounts of weapons dumped underwater, says expert

CBC News Posted: Apr 09, 2013 2:15 PM AT Last Updated: Apr 09, 2013 4:35 PM AT

Staggering amounts of weapons dumped underwater, says expert

A man from Cape Breton will chair an international discussion in The Hague, Netherlands, about the problem of underwater chemical weapon dump sites.

Terrance Long spent 16 years as a military engineer with the Canadian forces working in bomb disposal.

Long believes governments around the world need to face the fact there are thousands of chemical weapon dumps in the oceans and even in some lakes.

He said there’s a growing awareness in Europe, but Canada still hasn’t come to grips with the reality.

“It’s hard to explain why, but a lot of people, you know, if they can’t actually see the munitions they don’t think they’re there,” he said.

“Up until the 1970’s, ships would actually leave the United States, Canada, the U.K. and many other countries and basically dump munitions into the ocean. This same process took place all across Europe in most of the lakes after the second World War by dumping the munitions into the lakes, into the Black Sea, the Baltic Sea.”

Long said the number of weapons disposed of this way are staggering.

Decades of ships dumping unexploded military devices have resulted in 3,000 dump sites off the coast of Newfoundland and Nova Scotia alone.

Some of the sites are closer than many would expect.

“There’s one site that’s right in Sydney Bight. I believe it’s 12 miles out. That’s a major site. And that contains a lot of conventional munitions which are carcinogens,” said Long.

Long talks about an array of explosive devices such as mines, various types of bombs, and mustard gas which threaten the fishery and the environment in general.

He argues economies everywhere could be stimulated by launching a clean up of these dump sites.

Long said Enterprise Cape Breton Corporation would be well advised to invest in a clean up project to create badly-needed long term jobs.

IDUM Side Event at OPCW HQ Review Conference of State Parties

http://www.chemsea.eu/news,sea-dumped-chemical-weapons-side-event-at-cwc-conference,35.html

Sea dumped chemical weapons side event at CWC Conference

You are invited to participate in a Sea Dumped Chemical Weapons Side Event during the 3rd Review Conference of the State Parties of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) to be held in The Hague on April 10, 2013.

FROM THE INTERNATIONAL DIALOGUE ON UNDERWATER MUNITIONS:

After several years of effort by many dedicated people and organizations we find ourselves working together as an international family to develop responses to Sea Dumped Chemical Weapons (SDW’s) on global bases.  Our focus has moved from one of science to the “need to clean”.   After a number of scientific studies identifying links between munitions constituents and human health and environment there are a number of organizations and countries willing to work together on a voluntary platform of cooperation to clean up SDW’s in our waters.

As many may recall Closing Remarks from the Fourth (IV) International Dialogue on Underwater Munitions (IDUM) in San Juan when Co-Chairman, Dr. Andrzej Jagusiewicz, Chief Inspector of Environment Protection, Poland announced that IDUM would pursue the eradication of SDW’s in our waters to the OPCW, in The Hague.  With this in mind there is a Side Event at the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) www.opcw.org in The Hague, 10 April, 2013, with light lunch & coffee followed by Bilateral Meetings for Private Sector and Stake Holders including Governments Representatives, and an evening reception with bar (wine) and food for delegates.

Your participation is required to determine how best to address Underwater Munitions Response Programs (UMRP) in the future as an international family of experts on a global base.  We want to hear about your experiences and technologies.   A poor showing from the Private Sector could result in the perception that SDW’s are not important on a global or regional scale.  A strong showing would indicate the significant of SDW’s and willingness for people and organizations to work together for common solutions on a voluntary platform of cooperation.  At the event we hope the Private Sector will developed synergies for the transfer of skills and technology with smaller regionalized organizations via joint ventures, partners or team agreements.

We are most thankful to our past sponsors from the Private Sector whom made it possible for IDUM to come this far.  We need your continued support to fund a successful Side Event in The Hague and Nova Scotia to clean-up SDW’s. Those whom wish to Sponsor the Event/s are most welcomed and should email: tplong@eastlink.ca.

Space is limited; we strongly encourage everyone whom wishes to attend to preregister at: registration@underwatermunitions.org for the Side Event. We will try to accommodate everyone for space at both events including those whom would like a display table/booth.  We will select delegates based on a first-come-first -served and from experts for underwater programs for archeological, historical research, detection, mapping, handling, recovery, monitoring, and disposal.

This is your opportunity to work with like-minded people, organizations and governments to develop effective responses to clean-up SDW’s. IDUM will establish an International Technology Advisory Board (ITAB) on Sea Dumped Weapons during our Bilateral Meetings in The Hague following the Side Event.

We value your contribution in these important Side Events in Holland and Canada to address SDW’s on a global scale.  Without your support these events would not be possible or a voluntary platform of cooperation.  Thank you in advance for your consideration.

Click here for a draft agenda.

Sincerely,

Terrance. P. Long CPSM. SSM. CD.

Chairman, IDUM

www.underwatermunitions.org

 

Expert has hope for action on dumped munitions issue

By MARY ELLEN MacINTYRE Cape Breton Bureau
Published February 20, 2013 – 8:34pm
Last Updated February 20, 2013 – 8:39pm

Expert has hope for action on dumped munitions issue

http://thechronicleherald.ca/novascotia/736823-expert-has-hope-for-action-on-dumped-munitions-issue

Ex-military engineer: People realizing risks

SYDNEY — Terry Long is a worried man and he’s been worried for a number of years.

But for the first time the former military engineer believes the day is coming when his fears about dumped munitions might be addressed.

“Everywhere around the world, people are starting to realize that munitions are a major human health risk and have an environmental impact,” Long said Wednesday during an interview at his Sydport Industrial Park office.

Long has worked clearing munitions from land and underwater sites since leaving the military in 1989.

In 2004, he formed the International Dialogue on Underwater Munitions, a non-governmental organization that provides a platform for industry, politicians and stakeholders to explore and address the issue.

It’s an issue that hits close to home, Long said.

“We have more than 3,000 sites off Nova Scotia and that’s probably only about half of them,” he said.

Most are filled with munitions from the First and Second World Wars, but the practice of dumping excess munitions into the sea occurred right up to the 1970s, Long said.

“If you … walk along the Bedford Basin, you can see all the munitions in the water when the tide goes out,” he said. “You can look on the side of the ammunition compound and you can see the erosion and munitions falling off the side of the bank.

“Then you look in the water and see the lobster boats come in and catch lobster.”

He said he honestly believes “the ocean is dying” from the chemicals in munitions that have been dumped in them.

“I really want to make people aware of the dangers and the issues that are affecting our oceans.”

Cleaning up the munition sites would help preserve fish stocks “because if we continue the way we’re going there won’t be any fish left,” Long said.

Around the world, industries working on and under the seas, such as those that build underwater pipelines, are encountering more of these underwater munition dump sites and it is costing them money, he said.

As an example, Long pointed to a pipeline recently installed in the Baltic Sea.

“It was to be 1,100 kilometres long, but they had to put in another 700 kilometres, at a cost of $5 billion, just to avoid munitions,” he said.

Long also operates Wentworth Environmental Inc., a company that identifies the scope of an underwater or land-based munitions problem, maps it and then cleans it up.

While his focus is currently on advocacy, he admits his company could benefit from it as well.

“Some day, when they start cleaning (the sites) up, then maybe my company will be out there with the rest of them” helping to clean them up, he said.

His company’s most recent acquisition is an autonomous underwater vehicle, which he is shipping to Holland where it will be used to hunt for munitions in that country’s rivers and lakes.

Long is also a co-director of ChemSea, an organization that is conducting a search for and an assessment of munition dump sites in the Baltic Sea. The organization includes eight countries that border on the sea.

He is also the special invited guest of Helsinki Commission’s ad hoc working group for chemical munitions.

In April, he will chair an international dialogue on underwater munitions at the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons conference in the Hague.

For more information on the issue visit Long’s website at: www.underwatermunitions.org.

(mmacintyre@herald.ca)