MODUM – NATO Science for Peace and Security
IDUM Partner and Co-Director (Terrance P. Long)
TOWARDS THE MONITORING
OF DUMPED MUNITIONS THREAT
Dumped Chemical Weapons pose an actual environmental and security hazard in the Baltic Sea Region. Their actual position is unknown, and pollution originating from corroded munitions is only roughly estimated. Nowadays, when more and more Industrial Activities are being performed in the Baltic Sea Area, the threat level rises. The dumping operations occurred shortly after World War 2, and included captured German munitions. Operations with munitions from the Soviet occupation zone were performed by Soviet Navy, operations with munitions from British and American occupation zones were performed in areas outside of Baltic Sea (Skagerrak Strait); the fate of munitions from French occupation zone was never reported. Due to difficult legal status of those munitions, and large costs of remediation and retrieval, removal of those weapons from the Baltic Sea bottom seems unlikely in foreseeable future. Nevertheless, environmental and security challenge created by dumping operations needs to be addressed by Baltic Sea countries. One of possible low-cost solution is the creation of monitoring network, providing info about exact location and environmental threat posed by sea dumped chemical weapons (CW).
The project aims at the establishment of the monitoring network observing Chemical Weapons dumpsites in the Baltic Sea, using Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUV’s)and Remotely Operated Underwater Vehicles (ROV’s), and utilizing existing research vessels of partner institutions as launching platforms. Project consists of the test phase, which will serve choosing best available solutions for the difficult Baltic Sea environment, Survey phase, which will locate actual objects of concern, and monitoring phase, which will concentrate on the collection of environmental data close to the objects of concern. Project will concentrate on three representative areas chosen during the first phase of the project, and will provide a solution for expanding such a network to all areas of concern in the Baltic Sea area. Performed monitoring activities will include habitat status evaluation, fish health studies and modeling of possible threats to adjacent areas.