2002 CPEO Military List Archive

From: CPEO Moderator <cpeo@cpeo.org>
Date: 30 Oct 2002 15:43:51 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] Undersea weapon dumps a worry
Undersea weapon dumps a worry
Times & Transcript Staff

OTTAWA - With interest in oil and gas exploration off Canada?s east
coast growing, so is the concern that testing may release mustard gas
and other wartime chemicals that were dumped into the ocean 50 years

There are 10 known military dump sites off Canada?s east coast and at
least two of them are believed to contain unused canisters of mustard
and nerve gas dating to the end of the Second World War. There are
another 60 sunken ships that are known to contain live ammunition,
including sites in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and the Bay of Fundy.

A recent study done for the Department of National Defence has
recommended further study on those 70 "priority class one" sites to
determine the danger posed. Another 18 sites are classified as "priority
class two" for which action is also "required."

The sunken ships are a combination of armed warships and merchant
vessels carrying munitions in their cargo bays.

The navy has responded by creating a warfare agent disposal working
group in Ottawa.

Myles Kehoe, an antiques dealer and environmentalist from Cape Breton,
has spent 12 years gathering information about the east coast dumping.
Off Sydney, he said in an interview, there is a 30-mile dump that
contains 16,000 tonnes of mustard gas and unexploded shells of all
sorts. It may even contain nuclear rods from Canada?s early nuclear
program at Chalk River, Ont.

"Cape Breton is full of mustard gas and nerve gas," he said.

It is not alone. The Canadian government also dumped 3,000 tonnes of
mustard gas near Sable Island in 1946, and it invited the media to
record the event so that the citizens of Cornwall, Ont., where the
barrels had been stored, could be assured that the poison had been

The Americans too were actively dumping off Newfoundland in several huge
sites, Kehoe said. He also said there are two uncharted dump sites off
the Magdalen Islands as well as several sunken ships.

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