This section of the Series is dedicated to the horrendous dumping committed by the military. Who knows how long this actually has been going on, or how much has been dumped into our oceans.
These dump sites pose extremely serious dangers to the public. There is no way to predict when these will begin to leak or how many of them have already been leaking. They threaten humans not only to exposure and possible bodily injury due to any possible explosions, but they pollute the water we drink, the air we breathe and the food we eat which comes from the ocean. They expose us to all types of maladies and diseases.
Who knows how much of the fish die off and destruction to the natural habitat of our oceans has been totally due to these materials? Who knows how the ocean’s inhabitants have suffered unnecessarily because of man’s indifference? Who knows how they have been deformed and mutilated? Who KNOWS WHAT LIES BENEATH?
Weapons of mass destruction thrown into the sea years ago present danger now – and the Army doesn’t know where they all are
In the summer of 2004, a clam-dredging operation off New Jersey pulled up an old artillery shell.
The long-submerged World War I-era explosive was filled with a black tarlike substance.
Bomb disposal technicians from Dover Air Force Base, Del., were brought in to dismantle it. Three of them were injured – one hospitalized with large pus-filled blisters on an arm and hand.
The shell was filled with mustard gas in solid form.
What was long feared by the few military officials in the know had come to pass: Chemical weapons that the Army dumped at sea decades ago finally ended up on shore in the United States.
It’s long been known that some chemical weapons went into the ocean, but records obtained by the Daily Press show that the previously classified weapons-dumping program was far more extensive than ever suspected.
The Army now admits that it secretly dumped 64 million pounds of nerve and mustard agents into the sea, along with 400,000 chemical-filled bombs, land mines and rockets and more than 500 tons of radioactive waste – either tossed overboard or packed into the holds of scuttled vessels.
A Daily Press investigation also found:
These weapons of mass destruction virtually ring the country, concealed off at least 11 states – six on the East Coast, two on the Gulf Coast, California, Hawaii and Alaska. Few, if any, state officials have been informed of their existence.
The chemical agents could pose a hazard for generations. The Army has examined only a few of its 26 dump zones and none in the past 30 years.
The Army can’t say exactly where all the weapons were dumped from World War II to 1970. Army records are sketchy, missing or were destroyed.
More dumpsites likely exist. The Army hasn’t reviewed World War I-era records, when ocean dumping of chemical weapons was common.
“We do not claim to know where they all are,” said William Brankowitz, a deputy project manager in the Army Chemical Materials Agency and a leading authority on the Army’s chemical weapons dumping.
“We don’t want to be cavalier at all and say this stuff was exposed to water and is OK. It can last for a very, very long time.”
A drop of nerve agent can kill within a minute. When released in the ocean, it lasts up to six weeks, killing every organism it touches before breaking down into its nonlethal chemical components.
Mustard gas can be fatal. When exposed to seawater, it forms a concentrated, encrusted gel that lasts for at least five years, rolling around on the ocean floor, killing or contaminating sea life.
Sea-dumped chemical weapons might be slowly leaking from decades of saltwater corrosion, resulting in a time-delayed release of deadly chemicals over the next 100 years and an unforeseeable environmental effect. Steel corrodes at different rates, depending on the water depth, ocean temperature and thickness of the shells.
That was the conclusion of Norwegian scientists who in 2002 examined chemical weapons dumped off Norway after World War II by the U.S. and British militaries.
Overseas, more than 200 fishermen over the years have been burned by mustard gas pulled on deck. A fisherman in Hawaii was burned in 1976, when he brought up an Army-dumped mortar round full of mustard gas.
It seems unlikely that the weapons will begin to wash up on shore, but last year’s discovery that a mustard-gas-filled artillery shell was dumped off New Jersey was ominous for several reasons:
It was the first ocean-dumped chemical weapon to somehow make its way to U.S. shores.
It was pulled up with clams in relatively shallow water only 20 miles off Atlantic City. The Army had no idea that chemical weapons were dumped in the area.
Most alarming: It was found intact in a residential driveway in Delaware.
It had survived, intact, after being dredged up and put through a crusher to create cheap clamshell driveway fill sold throughout the Delmarva Peninsula.
DECADES OF DUMPING
The Army’s secret ocean-dumping program spanned decades, from 1944 to 1970.
The dumped weapons were deemed to be unneeded surplus. They were hazardous to transport, expensive to store, too dangerous to bury and difficult to destroy.
In the early 1970s, the Army publicly admitted it dumped some chemical weapons off the U.S. coast. Congress banned the practice in 1972. Three years later, the United States signed an international treaty prohibiting ocean disposal of chemical weapons.
Only now have Army reports come to light that show how much was dumped, what kind of chemical weapons they were, when they were thrown overboard and rough nautical coordinates of where some are.
The reports contain bits and pieces of information on the Army’s long-running dumping program. The reports were released to the Daily Press – which cross-indexed them to obtain the most comprehensive, detailed picture yet of what was dumped, where and when.
To put the information in context, the newspaper also examined nautical charts, National Archive records, scientific studies and interviewed dozens of experts on unexploded ordnance and chemical warfare in the United States and overseas.
The Army’s Brankowitz created the seminal report on ocean dumping. He examined classified Army records and in 1987 wrote a long report on chemical weapons movements over the decades. It included the revelation that more than a dozen shipments ended up in the ocean. The report wasn’t widely disseminated.
His follow-up report in 1989 uncovered – through review of other previously classified documents – the rough nautical coordinates of some dumpsites and the existence of more dump zones. In 2001, a computer database was created to include additional dump zones that the Army found and more details on some of the dumping operations.
The database summary and the 1989 report had never been released publicly before.
“I know I didn’t find everything,” said Brankowitz, who’s worked for more than 30 years on chemical weapons issues for the Army. “I’m very much convinced there are records at the National Archives that have been misfiled. Short of a major research effort that would cost a lot of money, we’ve done the best we can.”
The reports reveal that the Army created at least 26 chemical weapons dumpsites off the coast of at least 11 states – but knows the rough nautical coordinates of only half.
At least 64 million pounds of liquid mustard gas and nerve agent in 1-ton steel canisters were dumped into the sea, along with a minimum of 400,000 chemical-filled bombs, grenades, landmines and rockets – as well as radioactive waste, the reports indicate.
The Army’s documents are incomplete or vague. Years of records are missing or were destroyed to clear office space at the Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland, a longtime chemical weapon research and testing base.
And the Army hasn’t reviewed its records of chemical weapons dumping before World War II, when it was common to just throw the weapons into the ocean in relatively shallow water, Brankowitz said.
As a result, more dumpsites likely exist, he conceded.
The environmental effect of chemical weapons dumpsites is unknown but potentially disastrous.
Ocean depth varies widely off the East Coast. As a rule, it gradually deepens to 600 feet before hitting the outer continental shelf, which drops into very deep water. The shelf’s location can be as close as 60 miles, or as far as 200 miles, from shore.
“The perception at the time was the ocean is vast – it would absorb it,” said Craig Williams, director of the Chemical Weapons Working Group in Kentucky, a grass-roots citizens group. “Certainly, it is insane in retrospect they would do it.”
“It would be inevitable, I assume, all of this will be released into the ocean at some point or another,” said Williams, who has fought Army plans to incinerate some of the 44 million pounds of chemical weapons the country still has stockpiled. “I don’t think anyone knows for sure the true danger. It’s just a matter of opinion. You can say, ‘It’s going to kill everyone,’ or you can say, ‘It’s not a problem.’ The truth is somewhere in between.”
Based on the information available, the Army presumes that most of the weapons are in very deep water and are unlikely to jeopardize divers or commercial fishing operations that dredge the ocean bottom.
John Chatterton doesn’t believe that.
“I don’t think it all is where they say it is,” said Chatterton, a 25-year veteran diver who searches for undiscovered shipwrecks as host of The History Channel’s “Deep Sea Detectives.” “I’ve found a lot of stuff where it’s not supposed to be. Absolutely, positively, it is not a guarantee it is there (in deep water).”
Chemical weapons were dumped long before electronic navigation systems were invented. Their nautical locations are based on the words of ship captains, who surely wanted to ditch their cargo quickly and, Chatterton suspects, likely cut corners.
“The guys who were doing this were scared of this stuff. They were well motivated to get rid of this stuff as fast as they could,” he said. “So they could take it all the way out there or else they could say, ‘This is good enough,’ and be back in port in three hours. I know what they did. It’s mariner nature.”
STATE OFFICIALS IN THE DARK
One of the first of the now-identified dump zones created at the end of World War II was also one of the largest. The Army dubbed it Disposal Site Baker.
The Army has only the vaguest idea where it is on the ocean floor – somewhere off the coast of Charleston, S.C., the most specific surviving records indicate.
“I have never had any information to suggest this was done,” said Charles Farmer, a marine biologist who’s worked for South Carolina’s Department of Natural Resources for almost 40 years.
“I would say this is not well known to us at all. This is something that is new, at least to me. It’s incredible some of the things we’ve managed to do.”
The first documented dump near that state was in March 1946, when four railroad cars full of mustard gas bombs and mines were tossed over the side of the USS Diamond Head, an ammunition ship.
Several months later, an estimated 23 barges full of German-produced nerve gas bombs and U.S.-made Lewisite bombs were dumped in the same location. Lewisite is a blister agent akin to mustard gas. A single barge carried up to 350 tons.
“If we don’t have any idea of depths of water or location, hell, they could be anywhere,” Farmer said. “As we have more and more activity and more and more development off the coast, I hope this was buried in 6,000 feet of water … or a lot of this stuff is going to come back to haunt us.”
There’s one indication that those weapons were dumped in relatively shallow water: Army records show many of those 23 slow-moving barges were unloaded in one-day, out-and-back operations.
The records leave no doubt that other chemical weapons were dumped close to shore:
In 1944, at least 16,000 mustard-filled 100-pound bombs were unloaded off Hawaii in deep water only five miles from shore.
Several mustard gas bombs fell into the Mississippi River near Braithwaite, La., in 1945 and have never been found.
A reported 124 leaking German mustard gas bombs were tossed in the Gulf of Mexico off Horn Island in Mississippi in 1946 from a barge that returned to port a few hours later. The island is now part of Gulf Islands National Seashore, a popular vacation and fishing destination.
A 1947 dumpsite in Alaska’s Aleutian Islands is only 12 miles from a harbor.
VIRGINIA AND MARYLAND DUMPSITES
By the 1950s, the Army shifted much of its chemical dump operations north to the Virginia-Maryland state line and into deeper water.
In 1957, the Army dumped 48 tons of Lewisite off Virginia Beach, in 12,600 feet of water.
Four more dump zones were created more than 100 miles off the coast between Chincoteague, Va., and Assateague, Md. – tourist spots known for their unsullied beaches and populations of wild horses.
Dumped there in about 2,000 feet of water were at least 77,000 mustard-filled mortar shells, 5,000 white phosphorous munitions, 1,500 1-ton canisters of Lewisite and 800 55-gallon barrels of military radioactive waste.
It couldn’t be determined what kind of radioactive waste was dumped. But there’s one indication that it could be highly dangerous waste with a half-life of thousands of years.
National Archive records of the Army’s secretive chemical weapons escort unit, reviewed by the Daily Press, show several shipments in the 1950s between a laboratory in Oak Ridge, Tenn.; other Army bases with chemical weapons slated for sea disposal; and the Yuma Testing Station in Arizona.
Oak Ridge was where thermonuclear weapons were being developed at the time. Yuma was a military test ground for weapons in development. Records show a shipment on March 7, 1953, contained 35,000 pounds of unidentified “classified materials.”
The Army apparently stopped dumping radioactive waste in the late 1960s, the records show, when chemical weapons disposal operations again headed north in the Atlantic Ocean.
Two ships full of the most potent of all nerve gases, known as VX, were scuttled in 6,000 feet of water – miles off the coast of Atlantic City, N.J., as part of Operation CHASE. “CHASE” was Pentagon shorthand for “Cut Holes and Sink ‘Em.”
The nerve gas was in rockets encased in concrete before the ships were scuttled. The Army desperately wanted to get rid of these particular weapons. They also contained jet fuel to propel the rockets. The fuel had a tendency to “auto-ignite,” or spontaneously explode.
The ships – the S.S. Corporal Eric G. Gibson and S.S. Mormactern – remain a potential danger. Although the rockets were encased in concrete, scientists don’t know how quickly concrete breaks down from water pressure at such depths.
A third ship scuttled nearby is no longer a hazard: It blew up on its way to the ocean floor Aug. 7, 1968.
That ship, the S.S. Richardson, was filled with conventional high-explosive weapons and 3,500 1-ton containers of mustard agent mixed with water. It was on its way to the 7,800-foot bottom when a chain-reaction explosion went off, presumably caused by water pressure on one of the weapons that set off the rest.
“This is really quite disturbing,” said U.S. Rep. Robert Andrews, D-N.J., who’s been fighting Army plans to dump chemically neutralized nerve gas in the Delaware River. “I did not know of any of this. It’s a very serious problem that state officials haven’t been told.”
NOT ON ANY MAPS
Boaters, divers, fishermen and commercial seafood trawlers have no way to steer clear of the dumpsites.
That’s because the Army has put only one of its 26 known chemical weapons dumps on nautical charts, according to records kept by the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration.
The federal agency in charge of undersea cable-laying operations, as well as gas and oil ventures, has only a vague idea of where chemical weapons were thrown into the ocean, spokesman Gary Strasburg said.
That agency, the Minerals Management Service, knows only what the Army has revealed to that agency: that chemical weapons were dumped at sea and that some are in the Gulf of Mexico and off South Carolina, agency records show.
The effect of the dumping operations has never been studied. Few scientists knew that it was done, so studies of the decline in sea life over the years has never focused on the possibility of leaking chemical weapons.
Commercial fishing operations, as well as scallop and clam trawlers, have been forced to go farther and farther from shore over past 25 years because sea life has thinned for unknown reasons. Some scallopers now dredge in up to 400 feet of water, which is more than 100 miles from the shore in some East Coast locations.
The bottom-dwelling cod population in the Northern Atlantic has been decimated.
Hundreds of bottlenose dolphins mysteriously washed up on Virginia and New Jersey shores in 1987. They died with large, never-explained skin blisters that resembled mustard gas burns on humans.
Federal marine scientists ultimately attributed the unprecedented number of dolphin deaths to a combination of morbillivirus – related to distemper in dogs – and potent vibrio bacteria from industrial pollutants.
That combination has killed other marine mammals over the years. But none has ever been found with its skin partly peeling off.
One marine mammal specialist who suspects that leaking chemical weapons killed the dolphins met Army officials and was told dumping had been done. But he was assured the weapons were unloaded too deep to harm the coastal-living creatures.
“You’d see the photos and you’d say, ‘Man, this animal was burned by something,’ ” said Bob Schoelkopf, director of the Marine Mammal Stranding Center in Brigantine, N.J. He said “it is a very good possibility” that leaking chemical weapons killed the dolphins.
“It’d be nice to see the Army go down there and investigate, but nobody wants to open that book, it seems,” Schoelkopf said. “You’d think they’d want to go look at those sites and say once and for all this isn’t a problem. The amazing thing is they are not being monitored.”
The Army also wondered whether its chemical weapons were responsible for the dolphin deaths and was preparing to investigate some dump zones. The project was scrapped when the deaths were attributed to the virus and bacteria, the Army’s Brankowitz said.
LITTLE OR NO MONITORING
Over the decades, the Army has conducted environmental tests on only four of its dumpsites – and none since 1975.
Some of the last tests the Army conducted were on the nerve-gas-filled ships off New Jersey. They found no evidence the weapons had leaked, Brankowitz said.
He said that led the Army to presume the pressure on the weapons as they sank to the bottom crushed the shells and made them squirt their deadly contents onto the seabed, where they long ago broke down into their non-lethal chemical components.
That might be wishful thinking, some scientists said.
Shells filled with chemical weapons are more likely to slowly leak over time than to be crushed while sinking, said Peter Brewer, a marine scientist at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute in California.
Regardless, he said, he considers the dangers of leaking chemical weapons in deep-water sites to be low.
He noted that the only Army chemical weapons dumpsite on nautical charts – the wreck of the S.S. William Ralston, scuttled 117 miles off San Francisco in the 1950s – hasn’t been found to be leaking, though he said scientists have monitored it only “from a distance.”
Not far from that wreck, scientists have determined that drums of radioactive waste dumped by industry in the 1950s have so corroded, they’re now paper-thin – with holes in some of them, said Richard Charter, a California-based environmentalist with Environmental Defense.
He said he feared that recent congressional approval for offshore gas and oil exploration off the East and West coasts – permitted through this summer’s lifting of a 22-year-old moratorium on the activity – could release the chemical agents from their containers.
“It certainly is within the realm of possibility,” he said. “This is an invasive activity.”
Seismic exploration is conducted by setting off huge airguns on the ocean surface and measuring the blasts when they bounce off the ocean floor. Such exploration and drilling operations have been conducted for decades in the Gulf of Mexico without releasing chemical warfare agents dumped by the Army in that body of water.
Overseas, scientists who monitor chemical weapons dumpsites off other countries have identified an unmistakable problem in the Skagerrak Strait, a narrow but deep body of water that separates Norway and Denmark.
In 2002, Norwegian scientists sent a remote-controlled vehicle to investigate four ships full of captured German chemical weapons. The U.S. and British militaries scuttled them after World War II in about 2,000 feet of water.
The Norwegians found that the sunken ships remained intact. Some of the shells had leaked. Others were slowly corroding. That reveals a problem that could last hundreds of years, the scientists concluded.
Soil sediment showed high levels of arsenic, a component of some of the chemical weapons. Arsenic is bioaccumulative. This means bottom-feeding shellfish are likely to be contaminated and pass arsenic up the food chain to accumulate in humans who eat them, the scientists learned.
Also worrisome: Nets from fishing trawlers were found tangled on some of the weapons-filled wrecks.
“It might be possible to get chemical ammunition in the nets, which could then be brought up to the surface and poison fishermen,” the scientists wrote in a report on the expedition.
“It is also a possibility that fishing equipment could damage the wrecks and expose the chemical ammunition to the water, increasing the release of the agents to the environment.”
The Army is obliged to at least assess the danger that the dumpsites pose today, said Lenny Siegel, director of the Center for Public Environmental Oversight who specializes in chemical weapons issues.
“If no one does a study looking for three-legged fish, how do they know it’s not a problem?” he wondered.
“My guess is the risks are remote in most cases, but I think you have to at least evaluate the risk. They have to take continuing responsibility.
“They need to see if there is an impact on the food chain. If there is, you have to warn people. If so, they have to do something with them.”
This article is from Hakai Magazine, an online publication about science and society in coastal ecosystems. Read more stories like this at hakaimagazine.com.Just before 10:10 on a warm summer night in 1917, German soldiers loaded a new type of armament into their artillery and began bombarding enemy lines near Ypres in Belgium. The shells, each emblazoned with a bright yellow cross, made a strange sound as their contents partly vaporized and showered an oily liquid over the Allied trenches.
The fluid smelled like mustard plants, and at first it seemed to have little effect. But it soaked through the soldiers’ uniforms, and eventually it began burning the men’s skin and inflaming their eyes. Within an hour or so, blinded soldiers had to be led off the field toward the casualty clearing stations. Lying in cots, the injured men groaned as blisters formed on their genitals and under their arms; some could barely breathe.
The mysterious shells contained sulfur mustard, a liquid chemical-warfare agent commonly—and confusingly—known as mustard gas. The German attack at Ypres was the first to deploy sulfur mustard, but it was certainly not the last: Nearly 90,000 soldiers in all were killed in sulfur mustard attacks during the First World War. And although the Geneva Convention banned chemical weapons in 1925, armies continued manufacturing sulfur mustard and other similar armaments throughout the Second World War.
When peace finally arrived in 1945, the world’s military forces had a major problem on their hands: Scientists did not know how to destroy the massive arsenals of chemical weapons. In the end, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States largely opted for what seemed the safest and cheapest method of disposal at the time: Dumping chemical weapons directly into the ocean. Troops loaded entire ships with metric tons of chemical munitions—sometimes encased in bombs or artillery shells, sometimes poured into barrels or other containers. Then they shoved the containers overboard or scuttled the vessels at sea, leaving spotty or inaccurate records of the locations and amounts dumped.
Experts estimate that 1million metric tons of chemical weapons lie on the ocean floor—from Italy’s Bari harbor, where 230 sulfur mustard exposure cases have been reported since 1946, to the U.S.’s East Coast, where sulfur mustard bombs have shown up three times in the past 12 years in Delaware, likely brought in with loads of shellfish. “It’s a global problem. It’s not regional, and it’s not isolated,” says Terrance Long, chair of the International Dialogue on Underwater Munitions (IDUM), a Dutch foundation based in the Hague, Netherlands.
Today, scientists are looking for signs of environmental damage, as the bombs rust away on the seafloor and potentially leak their deadly payloads. And as the world’s fishing vessels trawl for deep-diving cod and corporations drill for oil and gas beneath the ocean floor and install wind turbines on the surface, the scientific quest to locate and deal with these chemical weapons has become a race against the clock.
On a rainy day in April, I hop a tram to the outskirts of Warsaw to meet Stanislaw Popiel, an analytical chemist at Poland’s Military University of Technology. An expert on the world’s submerged chemical weapons, the graying researcher takes more than an academic interest in sulfur mustard: He has seen the dangers of this century-old weapon close up.
I had hoped to visit Popiel in his Warsaw lab, but when I contacted him a day earlier by phone, he apologetically explained that it would take weeks to get the permissions necessary to visit his lab in a secure military complex. Instead, we meet in the lobby of a nearby officers’ club. The chemist, wearing a rumpled gray blazer, is easy to spot among the officers milling around in starched, drab green dress uniforms.
Leading me upstairs to an empty conference room, Popiel takes a seat and opens his laptop. As we chat, the soft-spoken researcher explains that he started working on Second World War sulfur mustard after a major incident nearly 20 years ago. In January 1997, a 95-metric-ton fishing vessel named WLA 206 was trawling off the Polish coast, when the crew found an odd object in their nets. It was a five- to seven-kilogram chunk of what looked like yellowish clay. The crew pulled it out, handled it, and set it aside as they processed their catch. When they returned to port, they tossed it in a dockside trash can.
The next day, crew members began experiencing agonizing symptoms. All sustained serious burns and four men were eventually hospitalized with red, burning skin and blisters. The doctors alerted the authorities, and investigators took samples from the contaminated boat to identify the substance and then traced the lump to the city dump. They shut down the area until military experts could chemically neutralize the object—a chunk of Second World War sulfur mustard, frozen solid by the low temperatures on the seafloor and preserved by the below-zero winter temperatures onshore.
A sample made its way to Popiel’s lab, and he began studying it to better understand the threat. Sulfur mustard’s properties, Popiel says, make it a fiendishly effective weapon. It’s a hydrophobic liquid, which means it’s hard to dissolve or wash off with water. At the same time, it’s lipophilic, or easily absorbed by the body’s fats. Symptoms can take hours or, in rare instances, days to appear, so victims may be contaminated and not even realize they have been affected; the full extent of the chemical burn might not be clear for 24 hours or more.
A chemist in Popiel’s lab discovered firsthand how painful such a burn could be, after a fume hood pulled vapors from a test tube full of the stuff up over his unprotected hand. The gas burned part of his index finger, and it took two months to heal—even with state-of-the-art medical care. The pain was so severe that the chemist sometimes couldn’t sleep more than a few hours at a time during the first month.
Popiel explains that the more he read about sulfur mustard after the WLA 206 incident, the more he began to question why it had survived so long on the ocean floor. At room temperature in the lab, sulfur mustard is a thick, syrupy liquid. But under controlled lab conditions, pure sulfur mustard breaks down into slightly less toxic compounds like hydrochloric acid and thiodiglycol. Bomb makers reported that sulfur mustard evaporated from the soil within a day or two during warm summer conditions.
But it seemed to remain strangely stable underwater, even after the metal casing of the bombs corroded. Why? To gather clues, Popiel and a small group of colleagues began testing the WLA 206 sample to identify as many of its chemical constituents as they could. The findings were very revealing. Military scientists had weaponized some stocks of sulfur mustard by adding arsenic oil and other chemicals. The additives made it stickier, more stable, and less likely to freeze on the battlefield. In addition, the team identified more than 50 different “degradation products” that formed when the chemical weapon agent interacted with seawater, sediments and metal from the bomb casings.
All this led to something that no one had predicted. On the seafloor, sulfur mustard coagulated into lumps and was shielded by a waterproof layer of chemical byproducts. These byproducts “form a type of skin,” says Popiel, and in deep water, where temperatures are low and where there are few strong currents to help break down the degradation products, this membrane can remain intact for decades or longer. Such preservation in the deep sea had one possible upside: The coating could keep weaponized sulfur mustard stable, preventing it from contaminating the environment all at once.
Some of the world’s militaries did dump their chemical weapons in deep water. After 1945, the U.S. military required that dump sites be at least 1,800 meters below the surface. But not all governments followed suit: The Soviet military, for example, unloaded an estimated 15,000 tonnes of chemical weapons in the Baltic Sea, where the deepest spot is just 459 meters down and the seafloor is less than 150 meters deep in most places—a recipe for disaster.
(Nearly a century has passed since the first use of sulfur mustard as a chemical weapon in the First World War, but these munitions remain a threat. This interactive map, created with data supplied by the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies in Monterey, California, shows known locations where chemical weapons were dumped in the world’s oceans. Click on the map icons to view details about the sites; click on the slider icon on the top left to organize the content differently.)
On the day I arrive in the Polish resort town of Sopot, I take a short stroll along the seaside. Looking around, I find it hard to imagine that metric tons of rusting bombs packed with toxic chemicals lie less than 60 kilometers offshore. Restaurants on the town’s main drag proudly advertise fish and chips made with Baltic-caught cod on their menus. In the summer, tourists jam the white-sand beaches to splash in the Baltic’s gentle waves. Venders hawk jewelry made from amber that has washed ashore on local beaches.
I had taken the train from Warsaw to meet Jacek Beldowski, a geochemist at the Polish Academy of Science’s Institute of Oceanography in Sopot. From his cramped office on the second floor of this research center, Beldowski coordinates a team of several dozen scientists from around the Baltic and beyond, all working to figure out what tens of thousands of metric tons of chemical weapons might mean for the sea—and the people who depend on it.
Beldowski has a long ponytail and an earnest, if slightly distracted, manner. When I ask him if there’s anything to worry about, he sighs. With 4.7-million euro (U.S. $5.2-million) in funding, the project Beldowksi now leads is one of the most comprehensive attempts yet to evaluate the threat of underwater chemical munitions, and he’s spent the past seven years refereeing fractious scientists and activists from around the Baltic and beyond who argue over this very question.
On one side, he says, are environmental scientists who dismiss the risk altogether, saying that there’s no evidence the weapons are affecting fish populations in a meaningful way. On the other are advocates concerned that tens of thousands of uncharted bombs are on the verge of rusting out simultaneously. “We have the ‘time bomb and catastrophe’ approach versus the ‘unicorns and rainbows’ approach,” Beldowski says. “It’s really interesting at project meetings when you have the two sides fighting.”
To try to answer this big question, Beldowski’s collaborators first had to locate dump sites on the seafloor. They knew from archival research and other information that post-war dumping was concentrated in the Baltic’s three deepest spots—the Gotland Deep, Bornholm Deep, and Gdansk Deep. Beldowski calls up an image on his computer, created with side-scan sonar technology a few weeks earlier during a cruise on the institute’s three-masted research vessel. In shades of orange and black, the high-resolution image shows a two-square-kilometer patch of the Bornholm Deep, 200 kilometers from Sopot. Scattered across the image are nine anomalies that Beldowski identifies as individual bombs.
Running his cursor over the image, Beldowski points out long, parallel scratches on the seafloor. They’re telltale traces of bottom-dragging nets, evidence that trawlers have been fishing for cod in a known dump site although nautical charts warn them to stay away. “It’s not good to see so many trawl marks in an area where trawling is not advised,” Beldowski says. Worse still, many of the lines are near known bombs, so it’s very likely, he adds, that the trawlers uncovered them.
Once the researchers locate either bombs or scuttled ships with sonar, they maneuver a remotely operated submersible fitted with a camera and sampling gear to within 50 centimeters of the decaying bombs to collect seawater and sediment. Beldowski calls up a short video on his computer, taken from the remotely operated vehicle a few weeks earlier. It shows a ghostly black-and-white image of a wrecked tanker, resting about 100 meters below the surface.
Records suggested it was filled with conventional weapons when it was scuttled, but Beldowski says sediment samples taken from the ocean floor near the ship yielded traces of chemical agents. “We think it had a mixed cargo,” he says. In a lab down the hall from Beldowski’s office, samples from the ship are being analyzed using several different types of mass spectrometers. One of these machines is the size of a small refrigerator. It heats samples to 8,000 °C, cracking them into their most basic elements. It can pinpoint the presence of chemicals in parts per trillion.
Earlier research projects on Baltic water quality looked for traces of laboratory-grade sulfur mustard as well as one of the degradation products, thiodiglycol, and found next to nothing. “The conclusion was that there was no danger,” says Beldowski. “But that seemed strange—so many tonnes of chemicals and no trace?”
So Beldowski and his colleagues looked for something very different, based on Popiel’s research. They searched for the complex chemical cocktail that military scientists used to weaponize some stocks of sulfur mustard, as well as the new degradation products created by the munitions’ reaction with seawater. The team found sulfur mustard byproducts in the seafloor sediment and often in the water around dumped bombs and containers.
“In half of the samples,” says Beldowski, shaking his head, “we detected some degradation agents.” It wasn’t all sulfur mustard, either: In some samples, the degradation products came from other types of dumped chemical weapons, like nerve gas and lewisite.
Learning to detect these toxic substances is just part of the problem: Assessing the threat these chemicals pose to marine ecosystems and to humans is a more troubling issue. Although researchers have long gathered data on the dangers of toxins such as arsenic, the perils posed by weaponized sulfur mustard and its degradation products are unknown. “These compounds are weapons, so it’s not something you just give a grad student and tell them to run it,” says Hans Sanderson, an environmental chemist and toxicologist based at the Aarhus University in Denmark.
Sanderson thinks it would be irresponsible to hit the panic button until more is known about these munitions on the seafloor and their effects. “There are still lots of questions about the environmental impact,” the Danish researcher says. “It’s difficult to do risk assessment if you don’t know the toxicity, and these are unknown chemicals that nobody’s ever encountered or tested.”
Some scientists think that preliminary data on the effects of these chemicals on ecosystems might come from long-term studies of cod stocks. Cod is a commercially important species in the Baltic, so researchers from around the region have detailed records on these stocks and their health going back more than 30 years. And since cod are deep divers, they are more likely than many other Baltic fish to come in contact with sediment at the bottom of the sea—and with chemical munitions.
Thomas Lang, a fisheries ecologist at Germany’s Thünen Institute, is studying possible impacts of this contact. If cod caught near dump sites are more diseased than those pulled up from areas deemed “clean,” it could be a hint that the chemicals are harming the fish. “We use diseases as indicators of environmental stress,” Lang says. “Where fish have a higher disease load, we think the environmental stress is higher.”
Over the past five years, Lang has examined thousands of cod, looking at health indicators such as the mathematical relationship between their weight and length, and examining the fish for signs of illness and parasites. At the beginning of these studies, the cod caught from a major chemical weapons dump site seemed to have more parasites and diseases and were in poorer condition than those caught outside the dump area—a bad sign.
The latest data, however, paints a different picture. After 10 separate research cruises and 20,000 cod physicals, Lang’s study shows only tiny differences between fish caught in known dumping grounds and those taken from sites elsewhere in the Baltic. But Lang says that situation could change, if leaks of toxic substances increase due to corroding munitions. “Further monitoring of ecological effects is required,” he adds.
A small number of studies conducted elsewhere also raise doubts about the polluting effects of submerged chemical weapons. The Hawai’i Undersea Military Munitions Assessment (HUMMA), a project paid for by the US Department of Defense and run primarily by researchers from the University of Hawai’i at Manoa, is a case in point. Its scientists have been investigating a site near Pearl Harbor, where 16,000 sulfur mustard bombs were dumped in 1944.
Water samples taken by the HUMMA team confirmed the presence of sulfur mustard byproducts at the site, but time-lapse video shows that many marine species now use the bombs as an artificial reef. Sea stars and other organisms have shifted onto the piles of munitions, seemingly unaffected by the leaking chemicals. At this site, sulfur mustard “does not pose a risk to human health or to fauna living in direct contact with chemical munitions,” the researchers reported.
What is certain, however, is that the chemical weapons lying on the seafloor pose a serious threat to humans who come in direct contact with them. And as the world focuses more on the oceans as a source of energy and food, the danger presented by underwater munitions to unsuspecting workers and fishing crews is growing. “When you invest more in the offshore economy, each day the risk of finding chemical munitions increases,” Beldowski says.
Indeed, some major industrial projects in the Baltic, such as the Nord Stream gas pipeline from Germany to Russia, are now planning their routes in order to avoid disturbing chemical weapon dumps. And trawler activity on the ocean floor continues to uncover chemical munitions. In 2016 alone, Danish authorities have responded to four contaminated boats.
Yet there are some options for cleaning up the mess. Terrance Long, at the IDUM, says encasing the corroding munitions in situ in concrete is one possible option. But it would be expensive and time-consuming. Beldowski says it might just be easier for now to place fishing bans and stepped-up monitoring around known dump sites—the nautical equivalent of “Do Not Enter” signs.
As I pack away my notebook and get ready to head back to the train station in Sopot, Beldowski still looks worried. He thinks that scientists need to remain vigilant and gather more data on what is happening in the seas around those dump sites. It took decades, he says, for scientists across many disciplines to understand how common chemicals such as arsenic and mercury build up in the world’s seas and soils, and poison both wildlife and people. The world’s seas are vast, and the data set on chemical weapons—so far—is tiny.
“Global collaboration made the study of other contaminants meaningful,” Beldowski says. “With chemical munitions, we’re in the same place marine pollution science was in the 1950s. We can’t see all the implications or follow all the paths yet.”
BRAZORIA COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENT
BRAZORIA COUNTY WILL BE PREPARED FOR AND READY TO RESPOND TO A HEALTH AND MEDICAL EVENT
DUE TO EITHER A MANMADE OR NATURAL DISASTER
Here are some of the chemical weapons of mass destruction the Army dumped into U.S. oceans from 1944 to 1970:
More than 20 leaking 115-pound mustard gas bombswere dumped into the Mississippi River’s Concord Spur in New Orleans in 1944 or 1945 and were never found.
GM2 A reported 124 German phosgene bombs were dumped off Horn Island, Miss. on July 27, 1946. The bombs were probably thrown
over the side of the S.S. Park Benjamin at an undetermined depth. The barrier island now is a popular national park.
GM3 On July 13, 1946, more than 30 German mustard gas bombs were shipped by barge from Theodore Naval Magazine near Mobile, Ala., and dumped 20 miles off the coast, at a depth of 200 to 600 feet. One bomb later floated ashore. By today’s standards, that is not considered deep water.
X An unknown number of mustard gas-filled bombs were sailed out of New Orleans on March 10, 1946, aboard the USS Akutan and
dumped somewhere in the gulf.
X Two unspecified chemicalfilled bombs accidentally sank into quicksand in the shipping channel of the Mississippi River about three
miles south of Braithwaite, La., and were never recovered.
X In another dump operation, one or two barges of unspecified “toxic” munitions were loaded at Theodore Naval Magazine, taken out into
the gulf and dumped. Exactly where remains unknown, and the Army has no further information on that site.
X = Unknown location
View the Google Map
In the decades following World War I, and even more so during and after World War II, at least four major powers disposed of massive quantities of captured, damaged, and obsolete chemical warfare (CW) material by dumping them into the oceans. The jettisoned material consisted either of munitions containing chemicals (such as artillery shells, mortar rounds, or aerial bombs) or chemicals stored in large metal containers or encased in concrete. Shells and bombs were sometimes jettisoned unfettered, but more often were loaded as cargo onto ships that were sunk by opening their seacocks, by naval artillery fire, or torpedoes. (1) Because those sunken ships tended to settle on the seabed largely intact, the CW material they contained remained within a small area. Unfettered material, on the other hand, may be widely dispersed by currents, tides, and other forces. (2) In those times, the disposal crews did not give much consideration to the safety and environmental implications of sea-dumping CW materials.
The records of some operations, including listings of where the dumping occurred, and the types and quantities of the dumped material, were well kept. For example, according to United States (US) Department of Defense reports, the US military alone dumped CW agents and munitions in oceans throughout the world on at least 74 occasions between 1918 and 1970. (3, 4) Other dumping was done haphazardly with no or minimal preserved records. The USSR (and now Russia), in particular, has provided few records to the international community of its sizable chemical dumping activities. Russia has admitted that “at least 160,000 tons of chemical weapons may be settled on the seabed of Russian seas, posing a grave threat to ecology and the health of man” (5), which demonstrates the potentially enormous problem posed by Soviet ocean-dumped chemical weapons material. Similarly, 302,857 tons of CW munitions were left over in Germany and the United Kingdom (UK) after World War II, most of which were eventually dumped in the oceans. (6,7) However, because of sparse records, the total quantity of CW material discarded at sea will never be known precisely, but does include at least 1.6 million tons (this quantity was determined from the summation of all known quantities in the data collected for this map).
National environmental legislation and international environmental protection agreements emerged as public environmental concerns rose in the 1960s, which caused the disposal of CW agents at sea to become increasingly rare. A major development occurred in 1969, when the US National Academy of Science recommended that ocean dumping be discontinued as a method of disposing chemical agents and munitions. (8) Despite these efforts, CW ocean dumping did not end until after the 1972 Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter came into force in 1975, which banned the practice of ocean-dumping of CW materials. (9) Currently, 87 States are Parties to what is commonly called the London Convention.
Threats and Hazards
CW agents lodged on the seabed present three types of threats to the world. First, many contain explosives that can self-detonate without warning. Second, some human activities, such as fishing, dredging, and pipe laying in areas laden with dumped CW agents, may result in humans being exposed to CW agents. (10) Because chemical weapons are designed to cause human casualties, they can burn the skin, injure the naso-pharyngeal and gastrointestinal tracts, and close down the nervous system (see below) of exposed, unsuspecting workers. (11) Third, CW agents and their degradation products can cause direct and indirect damage to the marine environment. There is little concrete data on how and to what extent CW agents may cause environmental harm. It is feasible, however, that the damage to primary producers in the marine environment, as well as the food webs of which they are members, could be substantial. Though several investigations have tried to answer these questions, many have discovered that the factors that contribute to the degradation and spread of CW agents – namely currents, ocean temperature, and depth – vary greatly between dumpsites. (12)
CW agent disposal sites have created a latent public health hazard with unknown but potentially serious environmental consequences. In areas of substantial dumping, such as off the coast of Japan and in the Baltic and Adriatic Seas, a large number of injuries have resulted from exposures to accidentally recovered CW agents. In most cases, CW materials are ensnared in fishing nets or accidentally disturbed during dredging operations. For example, Italian scientists have documented 232 instances of mustard-related injuries, including five deaths, suffered by Italian fishermen in the waters off Molfetta (near Bari) between 1946 and 1997. (13) Bioaccumulation of hazardous levels of arsenical chemicals in the local fish population, likely derived from the blister agent Lewisite, has also been observed as recently as 2005. (14)
The Italian experiences in the Adriatic demonstrate that a better understanding of the locations of the dumpsites, as well as the status of the materials within them, is needed to gauge the risk posed by undersea CW materials. Following decades of advances in ocean science and technology, human oceanic activity is increasing and expanding to deeper waters. Consequently, CW dumpsites once thought impossibly remote to reach are becoming increasingly accessible and dangerous to unaware explorers and workers. These problems have drawn considerable attention and concern by both the public and its elected representatives. This has resulted in the commissioning of research activities and the publication of official reports documenting the extent of dumping activities undertaken in the 20th century and their potential for causing harm. For example, in 2006 the US Congress enacted legislation requiring the Secretary of Defense to review historical records and report annually on “the number, size, and probable sites where the Armed Forces disposed of military munitions in coastal waters.” (15) International initiatives, such as Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission (also known as the Helsinki Commission or HELCOM), have also been created to investigate these sites.
Readers should keep in mind that information about most ocean dumpsites, especially Russian ones, is incomplete and that there is only information on about (we estimate) between 40 and 50% of the total number of sites. The sites that are best known, and mapped, are those located in the Baltic Sea and North Atlantic, mostly because of accurate records and recent surveys having been undertaken in preparation for natural resource exploitations and cable and pipeline laying projects. Chemical dumpsites in other areas, particularly the Pacific Ocean, remain largely undocumented. This project’s investigators will seek to continually update their map and related data base as new discoveries are made.
Chemical Arms Control and Disposal
Major powers, including the US, UK, USSR, Germany, Japan, and France, manufactured massive quantities of CW agents throughout much of the 20th century. Their widespread use in World War I resulted in hundreds of thousands of casualties. The horrors of CW use during the war stimulated diplomats to negotiate the 1925 Geneva Protocol, which is a multilateral international treaty banning the use of CW and bacterial agents in armed conflict. However, the Geneva Protocol has, since its inception, been considered a weak arms control treaty, as it has no provisions for forbidding State Parties to develop and store chemical weapons, for verifying that nations are in compliance to the treaty, or levying sanctions if they are not. Further, it makes no mention of eliminating chemical weapons. (16)
In the 1980s, countries began to draft a stronger chemical arms control convention, which was realized after the 1993 Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on Their Destruction, more generally known as the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), entered into force in 1997. One of its main provisions requires its State Parties (currently 188 with an additional 2 signatories) to destroy all existing CW stockpiles and renounce any future development, production, stockpiling, or use of chemical weapons. (17) Notably, the CWC is silent with respect to the remediation of CW agents and munitions dumped in the seas prior to 1972.
With few exceptions, nations that previously possessed CW programs now belong to the CWC and thus are faced with the problem of disposing the remnants of their programs. As of this update, only four CW-possessing countries, Albania, South Korea, India, and Libya, have declared complete disposal of their chemical weapons (18) (the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons [OPCW] stated in 2014 that Syria’s weapons had also been destroyed, but that now appears uncertain). (19) The major possessors, Russia and the US, are not likely to be in that position until the early 2020s. (20) All chemical weapons and related facilities in current and former possessor countries are located on terrestrial sites, hence are relatively easy to access. Japanese chemical weapons buried in China, however, are the major exception to this statement.
The situation regarding marine dumpsites is completely different than terrestrial sites. The CWC’s Article III, which deals with these sites, gives State Parties the option of declaring and/or destroying chemical weapons “dumped at sea” before January 1, 1985. Furthermore, State Parties are obligated to declare chemical weapons “dumped at sea” on or after January 1, 1985. John Hart notes that as of January 2000, “no formal declaration of dumping of CW in the high seas or in territorial waters has been submitted to the OPCW. (21) As far as we know, no such declaration has been made as of January 2008. While it is beyond the scope of our consideration, we note that options to address the problem are provided by Hart.
The opportunity exists for nations that are concerned about keeping the oceans pristine to take the lead to initiate a new multilateral effort to address the problem of CW materials dumped in the seas because the CWC is virtually silent about this issue.
The Data and Its Usage
The database, developed by CNS experts, is now available and cost-free to use. It is made available to whoever supports analysis of susceptible human populations, coastal industries, and marine ecosystems. The unified, nonpartisan database was developed to stimulate and support the efforts of national and international endeavors to address the serious threats posed to public health and the environment by CW material resting on the seafloor throughout the world. We would like to acknowledge Hakai Magazine for inspiring the additional map functionality in our most recent update to this page.
Please note that the geographic coordinate and depth data are often estimates based on approximate coordinates or geographical areas described in the literature. Please alert CNS map experts if this data is incomplete or inaccurate. Likewise, readers should note that the CW tonnage data is also an estimate, and, in some cases, may include the weight of the munitions and storage containers in addition to the agents they contain. All data fields that do not contain an entry are undetermined. Also keep in mind that while some points only refer to the sinking of a specific ship, many others describe a series of dumping related incidents that occurred over a longer period of time.
Most information in open literature is specific to a unitary actor (e.g. the US military) or a particular geographic region. (22) So far, no comprehensive database has been compiled for all marine disposal information. Reports on casualties caused by accidental exposure and on environmental damage are rare and when available, are limited to local areas. (23)
Information received by CNS after September 1, 2017
The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) published a report in late 2016 that dealt with three topics: (1) research to date regarding the effects on sea-disposed munitions on the ocean environment; (2) the feasibility of removing or otherwise remediating munitions sea-disposal sites; and (3) recommendations for addition research and remediation or cleanup of munitions sea-disposal sites. We make the point that munitions include both conventional and chemical munitions, so we cannot differentiate between the two on our map. Keeping this in mind, the DOD’s research concluded that:
sea-disposed munitions, which have become part of the ocean environment and also provide critical habitat to marine life, do not pose significant harm when left in place;
removing or cleaning up munitions sea-disposal sites would have more serious effects on marine life and the ocean environment than would leaving them in place; and
the potential health effects from sea-disposed munitions in U.S. coastal waters appear to be minimal. (24)
- Ian Wilkinson, CNS Intern Summer 2017
- Raymond Zilinskas Ph.D. Principal Investigator (co-PI)
- Anne Marie Steiger M.A. Google Map Development
- David Steiger Google Map and Webpage Development
- Caroline Ong, Performed initial investigation while serving as a CNS intern through the Davis United World College Scholars Program
- Tamara Chapman M.A. former Co-Principal Investigator (co-PI)
- Benjamin Brodsky Ph.D. former Assistant Investigator
- Joshua Newman M.A. former Drafting & Technical Development expert
- Peter G. Brewer, Ph.D., Consultant, Scientist at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI)
(1) US Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, “Special Study on the Sea Disposal of Chemical Munitions,” 1993, p. 5-20.
(2) John Aa Tørnes, Øyvind A Voie, Marita Ljønes, Aase M Opstad, Leif Haldor Bjerkeseth, Fatima Hussain, “Investigation and Risk Assessment of Ships Loaded with Chemical Ammunition Scuttled in the Skagerrak,” Norwegian Defense Research Establishment (FFI), November, 2002, p. 13-21.
(3) Program Executive Officer-Program Manager for Chemical Demilitarization, Chemical Stockpile Disposal Program: Chemical Agent and Munition Disposal. Summary of the US Army’s Experience, SAPEO-CDE-IS-87005, (Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, September 21, 1987).
(4) US Army Research, Development, and Engineering Command, Off-Shore Disposal of Chemical Agents and Weapons Conducted by the United States (Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD, 2001).
(5) Interfax, “Ministry: ‘Tonnes’ of chemical weapons ‘buried’ at sea,” Moscow, December 7, 1995.
(6) David M. Bearden, U.S. Disposal of Chemical Weapons in the Ocean: Background and Issues for Congress (Washington, DC: Congressional Research Service, May 24, 2006).
(7) Fredrick Laurin, “Scandinavia’s underwater time bomb,” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists,Vol. 47 (2), p. 11.
(8) National Academy of Sciences, Disposal Hazards of Certain Chemical Warfare Agents and Munitions (Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 1969).
(9) International Maritime Organization, “London Convention 1972,” www.imo.org.
(10) John Aa Tørnes, Øyvind A Voie, Marita Ljønes, Aase M Opstad, Leif Haldor Bjerkeseth, Fatima Hussain, “Investigation and Risk Assessment of Ships Loaded with Chemical Ammunition Scuttled in the Skagerrak,” Norwegian Defense Research Establishment (FFI), November, 2002, p. 13-21.
(11) US Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, “Special Study on the Sea Disposal of Chemical Munitions,” 1993, p. 5-20.
(12) Peter G. Brewer, and Noriko Nakayama, “What Lies Beneath: A Plea for Complete Information,” Environmental Science & Technology (2008), p. 1395-1396.
(13) G. Assennato, D. Sivo and F. Lobuono, “Health Effects of Sulfur Mustard Exposure among Apulian Fisherman,” Noblis Inc. (1995), www.noblis.org.
(14) E. Amato, L. Alcaro, I. Corsi, C. Della Torre, C. Farchi, S. Focardi, G. Marino, and A. Tursi, “An Integrated Ecotoxicological Approach to Assess the Effects of Pollutants Released by Unexploded Chemical Ordnance Dumped in the Southern Adriatic (Mediterranean Sea),” Marine Biology, Vol. 149 (2006), pp. 17-23.
(15) 109th US Congress, “John Warner National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2007,” Public Law 109-364, Section 314, October 17, 2006.
(16) “Protocol for the Prohibition of the Use in War of Asphyxiating, Poisonous or Other Gases, and of Bacteriological Methods of Warfare (Geneva Protocol),” US Department of State, updated 25 September 2002, www.state.gov.
(17) OPCW, “Convention on the Prohibition of Development, Production, Stockpiling, and Use of Chemical Weapons and on Their Destruction,” Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, 29 July 2005, www.opcw.org.
(18) OPCW Conference of the States Parties, “Report of the Third Special Session of the Conference of the States Parties to Review the Operation of the Chemical Weapons Convention,” Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, 19 April 2013.
(19) OPCW Executive Council, “Note by the Director-General: Progress in the Elimination of the Syrian Chemical Weapons Programme,” Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, 24 July 2017.
(20) “Report of the Third Special Session of the Conference of the States Parties to Review the Operation of the Chemical Weapons Convention,” Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, 19 April 2013.
(21) John Hart, “A review of sea-dumped chemical weapons,” paper presented at the “The Environment and the Common Fisheries Policy, Threats to and Constraints on Sustainability” forum, 27 January 2000, The Royal Society, London, Great Britain.
(22) J. Beddington and A.J. Kinloch, Munitions Dumped at Sea: A Literature Review, (London: Imperial College Consultants, June 2005).
(23) The mapping relies on a Keyhole Markup Language (KML) file, which utilizes features and programs created by Google™.
(24) United States Department of Defense, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics, Research Related to Effect of Ocean Disposal of Munitions in U.S. Coastal Water. Report to Congress, Washington, D.C, November 2016.