"The family of IVER’s, Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUV’s), has proven themselves be the Work Horse of the Sea for our underwater munitions surveys, sampling and science investigations."

Terrance P. Long,
Chair and CEO, International Dialogue on Underwater Munitions (IDUM),
The Hague, The Netherlands

Royal Canadian Navy is sending a ship to determine if a diver has discovered “the lost nuke”

Sean Smyrichinsky found the mystery object during a recent diving trip near Banks Island.

My god, I found a UFO. I found the strangest thing I’d ever seen!- Sean Smyrichinsky

“I got a little far from my boat and I found something that I’d never ever seen before,” he recalled. “It resembled, like, a bagel cut in half, and then around the bagel these bolts molded into it.”

When he got back to the ship he tried to describe the object to his crew.

“I came out from the dive and I came up and I started telling my crew, ‘My god, I found a UFO. I found the strangest thing I’d ever seen!'”

The ‘lost nuke’

Smyrichinsky started asking around and was told the story of Convair B-36B, a U.S. Air Force bomber that crashed off B.C. in 1950.

In a book published earlier this year, historian Dirk Septer traces the story of that flight, summarizing it in publicity documents as a Cold War drama:

“Just before midnight on February 13, 1950, three engines of a US Air Force B-36 intercontinental bomber caught fire over Canada’s northwest coast. The crew jumped, and the plane ditched somewhere in the Pacific Ocean. Almost four years later, the wreck of the bomber was found accidentally in a remote location in the coastal mountains of British Columbia, three hours’ flying time in the opposite direction of where it was supposed to have crashed.

“After years of silence, the United States finally admitted to losing its very first nuclear bomb; the incident was its first Broken Arrow, the code name for accidents involving nuclear weapons. But was the bomb dropped and exploded over the Inside Passage, or was it blown up at the aircraft’s resting place in the mountains?”

The lost bomb was a Mark IV. As soon as Smyrichinsky looked it up on Google Images, he recognized it as the object he had found.

“It was a piece that looked very much like what I saw,” he said. “The plane that was carrying the bomb, it crashed 50 miles south of where I found that object.”

“What else could it possibly be? I was thinking UFO, but probably not a UFO, right?”

Probably not nuclear

Major Steve Neta of the Canadian Armed Forces confirmed the location of Snyrichinsky’s find does coincide with the site of the 1950 crash.

Neta also said records indicate the lost bomb was a dummy capsule, and so there is little risk of the object being a nuclear weapon.

“Nonetheless, we do want to be sure and we do want to investigate it further,” he said.

The Royal Canadian Navy ship deployed to investigate should arrive in the area in the next few weeks.

To hear Sean Smyrichinsky describe finding the object, click on the audio labeled ‘A discovery off B.C.’s north coast possible missing relic of Cold War‘.

For more stories from northern British Columbia, follow Daybreak North on Facebook and Twitter and subscribe to the podcast

Student’s Post, on NATO Science for Peace and Security (SPS) Summer School on Sea Dumped Chemical Weapons, Canada


Reflections from the Field: A Historian Attends a Science Workshop on Underwater Munitions, 27 June to 1 July 2016.

Pasta http:// Link above in your browser to see pictures related to article.

By Dr. Alex Souchen, SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellow, Laurier Centre for Military, Strategic, and Disarmament Studies

The view was simply magnificent. Looking across Halifax Harbour from Dartmouth, I could see a bustling waterfront full of people and tourist shops. Sea gulls flew overhead while several boats traversed the upper harbour heading out toward the Atlantic Ocean. The breeze was salty, the air was warm, and the skies were clear and sunny. But the beautiful scenery obscured the dangers hidden far below the surface. Along coastlines around the world, a threatening legacy of war and disarmament lays buried in the seabed: dumped conventional and chemical munitions. Primarily thrown in the oceans between the 1920s and 1970s, these tools of death and destruction are now corroding away and polluting their surrounding marine environments with toxic chemicals and carcinogens. The total amount dumped at sea in the twentieth century remains unknown, but experts estimate that roughly 1 billion tons of conventional and chemical munitions were disposed of in the oceans. Depending on whom you ask, opinions on the dangers will vary. Some scientists believe that underwater munitions should be left where they are and monitored closely for any serious changes, while others consider them an unfolding environmental disaster and advocate for their immediate removal.

Conventional (left) and chemical (right) munitions being dumped at sea after the Second World War.

Source: (above left) Imperial War Museum, H42207.

I was in Halifax in late June at the invitation of Terry Long, Chairman of the International Dialogue on Underwater Munitions (IDUM) and a retired explosives disposal expert from the Canadian Armed Forces. Terry’s position on underwater munitions is crystal clear: he believes they are one of the greatest threats to human health and marine ecosystems. For the past twenty years, he’s been working towards creating a binding international treaty to clean up the oceans (his recent online petition can be found here).[1] In an effort to engage the next generation of students and activists, Terry co-organized a week-long summer school for young scientists interested in underwater munitions at the Waterfront Campus of the Nova Scotia Community College.[2] Despite my lack of scientific training, I decided to attend and learn what I could about the science and ecology of underwater munitions.

A small collection of recovered underwater munitions. Source: Alex Souchen, Photos from MODUM.

The workshop was sponsored by MODUM, a catchy acronym derived from a NATO Science for Peace and Security initiative titled: “Towards the Monitoring of Dumped Munitions Threat.” MODUM was a three-year program established in 2013 under the direction of Dr. Jacek Beldowski, a Researcher at the Institute of Oceanology Polish Academy of Sciences (IOPAS) and an expert in heavy metals and marine toxicology. MODUM’s goal was to find and monitor the sites where chemical munitions were dumped in the Baltic Sea after the Second World War. It was supported by the international collaboration of many environmental scientists, oceanographers, marine biologists, and weapon experts from Poland, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Russia, and the Baltic states. It consisted of three phases that included testing, surveying, and monitoring at three dump sites: the Bornholm Deep, Gotland Deep, and the Gdansk Deep. Although I was not involved in MODUM, it was clearly an important stepping-stone for data collection that will assist with future projects such as DAIMON or “Decision Aid for Marine Munitions” which just received funding from NATO until 2019.[3]

A quick glance around the classroom revealed the best and worst things about MODUM. In total, there were about 20-22 students and 5-7 instructors participating from 8 different countries. No doubt these were significant numbers, but by my estimate they accounted for maybe 10-15 percent of all scholars engaged in studying underwater munitions. These numbers will need to increase in the future if the field is to survive and expand its focus beyond the Baltic region. However, in the short-term the smaller numbers might be a good thing, as a narrow cadre of expertise is essential to forging familiar and collaborative relationships across multiple disciplines and methodologies.

The workshop demonstrated the value of these collaborative relationships. Throughout the week, we learnt that the study of underwater munitions is dependent on the relay of information from one cluster of expertise to the next. Whether it’s locating new dump sites and surveying them or testing samples and deciphering the levels of risk, contamination, and toxicity, each branch builds from the information provided by the others. However, it was also abundantly clear that the corridors of information ended when the chain reached its last cluster of expertise. From what I could gather, most scientists studying underwater munitions haven’t considered educating the public a major priority – either by relaying their findings directly or by establishing a central archive to house all of MODUM’s records for posterity.

Perhaps the most surprising thing I learnt at MODUM had nothing to do with underwater munitions and everything to do with how disconnected these scientists are from public engagement. Not a single scientist I met had a Twitter account or made much of an effort to disseminate their activities and research findings outside of academic circles. I was shocked. I was the only person in the room posting anything to social media (#MODUM) for the whole week. Obviously the science is difficult to explain to an audience in a 140 characters or less, but without better public engagement it’s no wonder that few people have ever heard about underwater munitions! Moreover, a robust online presence might have attracted more attention from the news media. Unfortunately, no journalists accepted invitations to attend MODUM or interview participants. This was quite striking and worrisome considering the wider economic, political, social, and environmental dangers of underwater munitions, particularly in reference to the off-shore petroleum industry and oil exploration in known dumping grounds like the Shelburne Basin.[4]

The MODUM workshop offered students a whirlwind tour-de-force of all the various elements involved in the study of underwater munitions. First, we learnt about the historical background, though these lessons were taught by those without history degrees or much appreciation for context and causation. Perhaps, next time, a historian should teach the historical components. However the workshop’s main focuses were not historical, they were scientific and practical. We next learnt about the interdependency of the scientific fields investigating underwater munitions and gained a hands-on approach to data collection and analysis. In a very short time, we were taught the basics of ecology, marine biology, analytical chemistry, oceanography, and environmental science. Classroom lessons covered the sources of contamination, corrosion and sediment rates, chemicals and derivative products, biomarkers and fish diseases, water quality, benthic fauna, toxicity, risk assessment, diffusion models, and operational instructions for the scientific equipment. Perhaps the most exciting part was spending time in the field where students got a chance to drive an ROV (Remote Operated Vehicle) and take water and sediment samples. We also planned and executed a survey mission for an AUV (Autonomous Underwater Vehicle) which mapped a portion of the Bedford Basin with side-scan sonar and analyzed the images to determine possible locations of underwater munitions.

Left: Deploying the AUV in the Bedford Basin. Middle: The AUV heading off on its survey mission. Right: Analyzing the survey’s results. The images were created by side-scan sonar. Source: Alex Souchen, Photos from MODUM.


Overall, I’m glad I attended the MODUM Summer School in Underwater Munitions. I learnt a great deal about the science and ecology of underwater munitions and it was a great opportunity to network with other experts across many disciplines, countries, and professions. MODUM also taught me a lot about the value of the humanities and social sciences. This lesson dawned on me after a particularly dense presentation of mathematical and scientific formulas, graphs, and data. Much like historians, scientists explore change over time but their vision is grounded in the natural world which has constant and measureable qualities, rules, and truths. Apart from the scientists performing the experiments, the scientific method seems devoid of human agency. In a way, the scientist has it easy: humans are inherently harder to study than the natural world. Unlike humans the environment doesn’t lie, have emotions, or a conscience, while humans are erratic, difficult to quantify, and their experiences cannot be recreated in laboratories. The value of the humanities and social sciences is their appreciation for human agency and the study of human-driven evidence. The field of underwater munitions needs more historians since we are trained to decipher the chaos of past events, contend with gaps in the evidence, and contextualize human actions and reactions. A better knowledge of history will undoubtedly improve scientific inquiry, but most importantly, it will boost public engagement by infusing sources of human interest and agency into a serious political, economic, social, and environmental issue.

[1] For more on the International Dialogue on Underwater Munitions see: http://underwatermunitions.org/.

[2] “Summer School First Announcement,” 17 February 2016 http://www.iopan.gda.pl/MODUM/category/workshop

[3] See MODUM’s website: http://www.iopan.gda.pl/MODUM/

[4] “Shell Canada gets Green Light to Drill for Oil Off Nova Scotia Coast” CBC News, 20 October 2015 http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/shell-canada-subsea-blowouts-nova-scotia-drilling-1.3280181

This article was made possible by the hard work of our staff and especially our student-volunteers. Please consider supporting our work by clicking here.

IDUM New Website on Underwater Munitions

International Dialogue on Underwater Munitions (IDUM) has a new website to support our present and future activities. We still have work to populate our site, as a repository on underwater munitions and welcome your input including underwater pic’s. We hope IDUM, can be a focal point in the future for you and your organization on underwater munitions policy, science, technology and responses. IDUM, welcomes new and previous like-mined members and organizations, to renew their commitment by becoming a member for 2017. Our members consist of the public, private sector and national and international organizations. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Terrance P. Long

Chair, IDUM

Footprints of War

Environmental impacts of military conflicts

Military attacks have alarming consequences on our ecosystem. Their huge footprint includes millions of tons of ammunition in our oceans, contaminating landscapes, and 10% of global carbon emissions.

How Shells From World War I May Be Contaminating Food in Northern France Today

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAj0AAAAJGQxM2UyYTNkLTcwNjYtNDNlZC04YjZjLWY1NDM1NjA3YjA5OAInternational Dialogue on Underwater Munitions (IDUM) What is happening in France is taking place on a Global Scale including Massive Underwater Weapons Dump Sites that have been contaminating our marine food sources with known carcinogens. Most Americans, Canadians and Europeans, regularly consume lobsters, mussels and oysters, high in heavy metals and fish with tumors. The Militaries (US DoD and Canada DND greatest offenders) instead of fulfilling their responsibility to clean up their waste spend “billions” on studies that imply that “everything is OK”
Chair@idum.org tplong@eastlink.ca  Support IDUM www.underwatermunitions.org

Officials in France have confirmed the discovery of an ordnance disposal site in the northern French region of Meuse, where massive numbers of shells left over after World War I were dismantled contaminating the soil.

In July, local authorities banned farmers from selling produce grown in the area, which had been used as farmland for several decades. The areas affected by the ban are close to Verdun, the northeastern French city that gave its name to the famous World War I battle in which more than 300,000 German and French soldiers died.

Results of initial soil testing carried out by France’s Geological and Mining Research Bureau show traces of metal and chemical compounds in the soil including arsenic, lead, and zinc. Traces of explosives and industrial chemicals used in the disposal of the shells were also found.

“At the end of the two world wars, any shells that weren’t fired were handed over to ‘recyclers’ who dismantled them in a rudimentary fashion and kept the metal,” a spokesman for French environmental group Robin des Bois (Robin Hood) said. In June 2014, Robin des Bois released a report on the environmental impact of unexploded bombs to coincide with the 70th anniversary of D-Day.

According to local daily L’Est Républicain, the restrictions affect nearly 250 acres of farmland that was used from 1919 to 1926 as a site to dispose of old ordnance. A company called Clere & Schwander reportedly disposed of up to 1.5 million chemical shells and 30,000 high-explosive shells by “burning them, blowing them up, dismantling them, and draining them.”

To establish the levels of contamination in the soil, authorities submitted samples of locally grown wheat, barley, and sweetcorn for testing. They also tested the milk of cows grazing in the area. Results from the testing appeared to show that safety thresholds for substances that have them — such as lead — were not exceeded. However, other substances detected during testing — including certain metals and explosives — do not currently have regulatory thresholds. As a precautionary measure, authorities have decided to carry out further testing to determine whether or not the levels of these compounds are harmful to humans; the second round of testing could take up to six months.

“In the 20s, the public authorities didn’t have the same environmental and security concerns as they do today,” said François Crochet, who teaches at the university of Lorraine-Metz and sits on the scientific council of the French Commission for the Centenary of the Great War.

Officials have banned farmers from selling their produce until “health guaranteed have been provided.” According to L’Est Républicain, farmers have already lost $167,000 worth of milk because of the restrictions.

Farmers in the area have not yet received any form compensation, despite a promise from authorities that they would be reimbursed “for their losses.” Farmers are due to meet with local officials “very soon,” said a spokesman for the prefecture. Officials have also confirmed that the Environment and Energy Management Agency — a department of the ministry of ecology — has earmarked a $233,000 fund to compensate farmers.

Local authorities revealed the discovery at a news conference Tuesday — the first time officials have spoken publicly about the restrictions introduced in July. A mayor whose town is located within the affected area and who wished to remain anonymous said he found out about the discovery last week in the media.

Many people are wondering how it was possible for the authorities to forget about a vast bomb disposal site. According to Cochet, “overlapping responsibilities” within public agencies often cause institutions to drop the ball. The spokesperson for the Robin des Bois collective blamed the “oversight” on “administrative failings,” and said that the authorities had shirked their duty to track the sites.

“We believe that there are other, similar sites that have yet to be discovered in France, particularly in the Lorraine [region],” the spokesperson said. Officials were first alerted to the presence of the Clere & Schwander site while researching another nearby shell disposal site that was discovered in 2000. Nicknamed “Gas Square,” the 10,000-square-foot clearing was used after World War I to dispose of nearly 200,000 German chemical shells.

Follow Lucie Aubourg on Twitter: @LucieAbrg

Photo via Flickr

Fisherman injured, chowder destroyed by Unexploded Ordnance


Fisherman injured, chowder destroyed by Unexploded Ordnance (bombs, mines, rockets, explosives releasing their chemicals in our ocean left by DOD)


Support International Dialogue on Underwater Munitions (IDUM) for A Global Treaty on all Underwater Weapons! Our waters will continue to experience chemical releases for the next 10,000 years destroying our fish stocks and impact our health unless we eradicate underwater weapons.

How come DOD doesn’t fund and investigate the problem of sea dumped weapons when they are the body that created the situation which harms our fish stocks and the ocean as we understand it. DOD’s tasks are to defend Americans at home and abroad from threats, yet environment, isn’t one of their top 10 priorities.  DOD is responsible for the situation that impacts our seas and oceans on a Global Scale including the health of Americans while saving dollars over public health. Underwater Munitions, will be another US Flint!!!! Denial, denial, denial fueled by DOD dollars to their like-mined agencies. I hope that Americans understand the global human health and environmental impacts which aren’t going away but getting worse!

DOVER, Del. – A fishing crew apparently pulled up unexploded ordnance while clamming, leading to a fisherman being hospitalized with second-degree burns and the destruction of more than 700 cases of chowder, officials said.
It’s unclear what the ordnance was, but fishing vessels along the Atlantic Coast routinely dredge up munitions, including mustard agent, that were dumped at sea decades ago when environmental laws were far more lax.
The injured fisherman was treated at a hospital in Philadelphia for burns and blisters, said U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer Seth Johnson.
Such injuries are consistent with mustard agent exposure.
The crew of the fishing vessel the William Lee found what they believed was an old or discarded ordnance canister on Aug. 2 and threw it back into the ocean 30 miles east of Barnegat Inlet, Johnson said.
Larry Hajna, a spokesman for the state Department of Environmental Protection, said the agency wasn’t told about it until Tuesday – a week later. The agency immediately reported it to the Coast Guard, he said. The boat was impounded in Atlantic City, New Jersey, and inspected Wednesday, but no hazardous materials were found, Johnson said. He said the Coast Guard is investigating why it wasn’t immediately reported.
In the meantime, clams from the vessel had already been delivered to Sea Watch International, a seafood processor in Milford, Delaware. More than 500 cases of clam chowder were impounded at the plant, and a truck was sent to a New Hampshire warehouse to retrieve 192 more cases, according to Michael Globetti, a spokesman for the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control.
A phone message left with the captain of the ship Friday morning to ask about the delay in reporting it and to determine the condition of the crew member wasn’t immediately returned.
Sea Watch did not return phone calls seeking comment.
Lauren Sucher, a spokeswoman for the FDA, said it was unlikely that any of the clam chowder was contaminated, but “because it is not feasible to test all of the company’s product in a timely manner, the company has agreed to voluntarily destroy the entire product lot.”
The FDA doesn’t think there is any public health risk because it believes none of the chowder reached consumers, Sucher said.
The Sea Watch plant has been evacuated at least twice after the discovery of military explosive containing mustard agent. In 2004, the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration fined it $9,000 because of safety violations involving exposure to vintage military explosives.
In 2010, a clam boat out of Atlantic City dredged up ordnance containing mustard agent while fishing about 45 miles south of Fire Island, New York. Two crew members were taken to a hospital, and some 39,000 pounds of clams were isolated at a Sea Watch plant in New Bedford, Massachusetts.
Mustard gas, a chemical-warfare agent used in combat by the U.S. during World War I, can cause skin blisters, lung damage, blindness and death.
Johnson said people who suspect they have come into contact with unexploded ordnance should get away from it and contact the Coast Guard.


Terrance P. Long Post 1-902-577-9439 (Canada)


IDUM Seeks Sponsors for Scientific Investigation and Underwater Technologies

International Dialogue on Underwater Munitions (IDUM) Seeks Sponsors for Scientific Investigation and Underwater Technologies


Co Director at DAIMON

Soon Chris will take us to explore a deep water chemical weapons site off of California eight to ten thousand feet underwater. IDUM is proud to assist Chris Welsh during his historic dives, to ensure everyone’s safety and to investigate the deep water chemical weapons sites. Pentarius Sub will change the ocean as we know it today. The next frontier is our seas and ocean so we can better understand “Mother Earth” and how best to protect her from environmental contaminates, such as deep water chemical releases including recently found PCB’s in Marana’s Trench.  IDUM seeks sponsors and partners to assist our scientific investigations and development of underwater technologies. We welcome industry partners including offshore operators and munitions response companies, ocean protection organizations or foundations. For additional information or potential sponsors please email tplong@eastlink.ca

Watch for IDUM “new website” being released this month, with up-dates on our activities, including NATO Science for Peace and Security (SPS) Summer School on Underwater Chemical Weapons at Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC) in Canada, World Ocean day and our cooperation at the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta Georgia on an Expert Panel on Underwater Chemical Weapons and the relationship Human Health.  IDUM needs your kind support to study our seas and ocean.  Thank you for your time and consideration. Terrance P. Long, Chair, IDUM

Networking Event Series, Volunteer The Hague

Volunteer%20the%20Hague%203Networking Event Series, Volunteer The Hague (23 June 2016)

Volunteer the Hague is a non-profit initiative founded by the Municipality of the Hague, that matches talents and skills of internationals with the needs of local non-profit organizations to build a more vibrant community for everyday living in the Hague area.

Please visit www.volunteerthehague.nl for more information.

Many honorable organizations have been invited to take place during the event: Help Kobane, Stichting Den Haag Narathon, The Indian Film Festival The Hague, Biblionef, Present Den Haag, UNICEF, and The International Dialogue on Underwater Munitions (IDUM).

All the representatives were able to talk about the participating Organizations, and the brilliant work that all of them are doing in The Hague, and all over the world.

Volunteer%20the%20HagueAfter a brief introduction of each institution, all the volunteers were called to join more warm and inspiring discussions with each representative.

The International Dialogue on Underwater Munitions, in particular, showed itself as one of the most outstanding Organizations, and has attracted over 20 volunteers who will make a great team to support the Organization’s cause and mission of cleaning both chemical and conventional munitions in our Oceans worldwide.

This event showed itself as a unique experience that allowed for the IDUM to have a one-on-one interaction with other local non-profit organizations as well as many like-minded, warm-hearted, and inspiring volunteers.

We are looking forward to welcome them in our Organization soon.


Carcinogens find their way to us via the fish we eat, including Lobsters

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAhZAAAAJDBhMWU0ODdkLTg4OGMtNGU4ZS1hMWRiLTQ2NzA4ZTU2NTM4YgCarcinogens find their way to us via the fish we eat, including Lobsters. Cape Breton cancer rates one of the highest in Canada.


A interview with Terrance P. Long on Underwater Munitions.