The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has some fresh news from World War II: 13 Merchant Marine ships sunk by the German navy in the Battle of the Atlantic threaten to release oil from their watery graves.
The finding comes in an assessment presented to the Coast Guard that analyzed 20,000 shipwrecks in US waters, and identified 36 as posing a significant threat of oil pollution. Seventeen of those are recommended for further assessment, which could lead to missions to remove their fuel oil and oil cargo. Besides the Merchant Marine vessels, the worrisome ships include a barge lost in bad weather in 1936, two ships sunk in separate collisions in 1947 and 1952, and a tanker that exploded in 1984.
"This report is the most comprehensive assessment to date of the potential oil pollution threats from shipwrecks in US waters," says Lisa Symons, resource protection coordinator for NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries. "Now that we have analyzed this data, the Coast Guard will be able to evaluate NOAA's recommendations and determine the most appropriate response to potential threats."
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