Hinweis zum Urheberrecht
Dissertation zugänglich unter
Subaquatische Kampfmittelaltlasten in der Ostsee : Neubewertung des Status Quo, Risikopotenziale und resultierende Handlungsszenarien
Subaquatic ammunition dumpsites in the Baltic Sea : Reassessment of the status quo, risk potentials and resulting options for action
Dokument 1.pdf (12.468 KB)
Ostsee , Waffe , Altlast , Chemische Waffe
Freie Schlagwörter (Englisch):
Baltic Sea , ammunition , dumpsite
Fak 3 - Umwelt und Technik
Ruck, Wolfgang (Prof. Dr.)
Tag der mündlichen Prüfung:
Kurzfassung auf Deutsch:
Kurzfassung auf Englisch:
Subaquatic ammunition dumpsites of both, conventional as well as chemical ammunition do practically exist in every single ocean and even in a significant number of inland waters. Most of these dumpsites are based on related post world war dumping actions, when victorious and defeated states had to get rid of their enormous surplus stocks of ammunition and especially the not easy to be handled chemical warfare agents like mustard, phosgene and even nerve agents. After first attempts of conventional destruction like burning, explosion or even simple emptying of chemical agents into pits or holes in the ground, those attempts soon emerged to be very time-consuming and dangerous. Adequate destruction technologies of today’s standards like detonation chambers or plasma kiln did just not exist at that time.
The persons in charge soon focused on a much more promising solution attempt: the dumping of this ammunition into surrounding water bodies. In the case of the post World War II dumping actions, the focusing on the former deep water sites soon turned out to be not practicable, based on related enormous costs and logistical problems. The Baltic Sea – with maximum water depths of about 150 m – seemed then to represent the easiest way to get rid of the problematic ammunition. By these activities 65,000 to up to 300.000 tons of chemical ammunition ended up in the Baltic Sea. Concerning conventional ammunition like water mines, torpedo warheads, high explosive devices etc., there is practically no information available but experts assume at least another 100.000 tons of conventional material in the Baltic Sea. Environmental aspects and the issue of protection of the sea were – like in other cases of subaquatic dumping actions worldwide – completely ignored at that time. Nevertheless, subaquatic dumping actions took place until the late 1980ies.
Today these dumping sites – whether based on conventional or on chemical ammunition – do represent a very problematic and highly dangerous heritage to present and future generations: Corrosion of the containers and shells results in a not to be forecasted diffuse emission or rather leaking of the ammunition contents into the water body. Substances that are in most cases highly or even extremely toxic for humans, flora as well as fauna contaminate the marine environment with mostly unknown toxicological and ecotoxicological effects. The majority of these substances are known to have carcinogenic, teratogenic and/or mutagenic effects and practically nothing is known about the potential of these substances to end up in the food chains. Especially in recent years there are more and more findings of significantly increased arsenic values in fish that cannot be explained but there are strong signs that these values are based on ammunition dumpsites. Besides the mentioned toxicological and ecotoxicological effects, there are further significant risks as e.g. the possible access to the ammunition also in the context of terrorist and right-wing extremist activities, the continuous catching of and resulting injuring of fishermen by ammunition, the constant endangering of the civil and commercial shipping by direct contact or rather too close convergence to dumped ammunition especially in the context of self detonation or a sudden release of significant amounts of these substances e.g. in the context of an accident and last but not least the uncontrollable landing of containers and ammunition as well as already flushed out contents on coasts and beaches.
Basically can be stated that there is still a significant need of action and scientific investigation in the general topic of subaquatic ammunition dumpsites and that related measures have to be taken immediately – especially concerning our sense of responsibility for future generations.