Bp Macondo well near military munitions dumping ground in Gulf /Near 30 mil pds unexploded bombs
"Over the weekend we reported that the BP oil platform now dumping 210,000 gallons of crude a day into the Gulf of Mexico was located near several munitions and explosives dumps — but we learned today that it’s near what appears to be 19 of them, or at least 19 listings of such dumps. My suspicion is that one of these old bombs may have gone off when it was struck by heavy equipment on the sea floor, causing the destruction of the platform and the resulting spill.
To our knowledge, this story has appeared only on Planet Waves.
The areas shown in the chart above are within one degree of lat/long of the oil well that exploded April 20. The document above is a sample of chart 411, published by NOAA to aid marine navigation in the Gulf of Mexico. If anyone would like to help shed light on what this means, drop a note to me, or in the comment box below. While we’re here, let’s remove our hats and bow our heads to the unmitigated genius of oil wells and explosive dumps within a few miles of one another."
You learn the darnedest things on the internets. For example, I just found out that the Gulf of Mexico is the primary disposal site for unexploded military munitions - over 30 million pounds of bombs, projectiles and chemical ordnance.
And because records are spotty and incomplete, we don't know exactly where these dumps are.
Here's some of this information from a paper presented at the 2007 Offshore Technology Conference in Houston.
In June of 2006, the MMS (Editor's note: Minerals Management Service) released its Notice to Lessees NTL 2006-G12, which outlined regulations for conducting Ancillary Activities in the Gulf of Mexico OCS Region.
Within this Notice, the MMS states a requirement to comply with protective measures when conducting activities within Ordnance Dumping Zones, as well as Military Warning Zones (“Water Test Areas”) 1 through 5. Figure 1 displays the areas delineated by the MMS as Ordnance Disposal and Military Warning Areas in the Gulf of Mexico.
Additionally, during the writing of this paper, the MMS released NTL 2007-G01, which updated the Shallow Hazards Program requirements. This notice also recognizes ordnance as a manmade hazard that may have an adverse effect on proposed well operations. Although the standard Gulf of Mexico geohazard survey and assessment does not currently involve a specifically defined unexploded ordnance
assessment, prudent owners, operators, and service vendors
should consider it on top of the To-Do list when planning projects in those sensitive areas. This paper presents such an assessment as well as provides additional insights into the problem of unexploded ordnance encountered in deepwater.
Three fundamental problems exist that the standard geohazard assessor faces in dealing with the UXO problem. These are simply limitations in technology, awareness, and expertise.
The solution lies in the utilization of innovative technology,
well thought out and appropriately planned geohazard survey specifications, and most importantly the utilization of unconventional industry experts with the ability to perform adequate and thorough ordnance risk assessments.
Historically, incidents involving ordnance discovered off the
coasts of the United States have been limited primarily to
fishing boats dragging ordnance up in their nets. It is very rare
that a detonation occurs during one of these events although it
has happened. In the early 1980s off the coast of New Jersey,
a fishing boat attempted to haul a WWII torpedo warhead in to
harbor. While at anchor, outside the harbor, and awaiting