Sea Technology

JUN 2017

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www.sea-technology.com June 2017 / st 29 D iscarded military munitions and unexploded ordnance are lingering reminders of historic con- flicts and may pose a large problem when encoun- tered in the world's oceans today. They may contain conventional explosives or chemical agents and thus may present a threat to people or to the environment. Until 1970, common approaches for disposing of excess, obsolete, damaged or captured munitions were combustion, burial on land or disposal at sea. Of these three options, disposal at sea was frequently chosen as the preferred alternative because the ocean was perceived as vast and remote. Over the past few decades, as humankind has penetrated deeper into the maritime domain, often to locate or use resources (e.g., oil and gas extraction, development of wind and fish farms, installation of power cables, fishing), encounters with sea-disposed munitions have increased. As a result, it has become necessary in many locations to understand the dis- tribution and condition of munitions, most of which have been corroding in the saltwater environment, and to determine the effects of their internal compo- nents on the surrounding environment. HUMMA In 2007, the United States Department of Defense (DOD) established a program to investigate munitions in the region south of Pearl Harbor, Oahu, Hawaii. The project, entitled the Hawaii Undersea Military Munitions Assessment (HUMMA, www.hummapro ject.com), focused on DOD sea disposal site HI-05, an area characterized by water depths of 300 to 700 m. The boundaries of the HI-05 sea disposal site were only gen- erally defined, extending from Barber's Point on the western side of Oahu to Diamond Head crater on the eastern side, and from Pearl Harbor to the south. Archival research indicated that 16,000 M47A2 100-lb. mustard-filled bombs were likely to have been disposed in this region during October and November 1944. Available information indicated that both chemical and conventional munitions had been disposed at HI-05; however, their ex- Addressing Munitions In the Sea Lessons from the Hawaii Undersea Military Munitions Assessment By Dr. Margo Edwards • Dr. Sandro Carniel Map depicting the extent of the 2007 and 2011 HUMMA so- nar surveys and the tracks followed by various manned and unmanned platforms during the 2009 and 2012 HUMMA sampling programs. Sample collection sites are indicated by small crosses and circles. Inset: HUMMA sonar surveys shown relative to the Hawaiian Islands of Oahu and Molokai.

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