Allies Dumped 70 Boatloads
Of WWII German Chemical
Weapons In North Sea
MOSCOW (AFP) - A deep sea dump of Nazi chemical weapons threatens to pollute the North Sea and the Baltic, a team of Russian scientists warned Tuesday.
The leader of the team, which has just returned from an expedition to Denmark and Norway, told AFP the Allies had dumped the hazardous chemicals in containers near the Gulf of Skagerrak at the end of World War II.
The scientists measured "levels of arsenic between 50 and 100 times the norm, and a concentration of heavy metals twice the norm," said expedition leader Vadim Paka, of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
He said the concentration levels did not pose an immediate threat to the nearby populations, but added that the effects of erosion in the open sea, "when the containers rust and break up, risk causing an ecological catastrophe."
Paka added that the expedition had taken measurements at depths of between 190 and 215 metres (yards) in the Gulf of Skagerrak, which lies between Denmark and Norway, where about 20 vessels loaded with chemical weapons had been dumped.
Almost 70 boats in total had been dumped in different parts of the North Sea and the Baltic, he said.
"We have gathered a number of readings which show that toxic agents have infiltrated the water," Paka said before urging the governments of the region to undertake a detailed study of the submerged vessels.
"There is no more time to be lost, because no conservation scheme is technically possible without a detailed study," he said, underlining that Russia did not have the money to finance such a project.
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