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Oil Spill Concerns Increase Regarding Countless WWII Shipwrecks

on Fri, 10/21/2011 - 19:53

Well over 6,000 ships sunk during the Second World War sit on the bottom of oceans and seas worldwide. After roughly 70 years of exposure to the elements many are raising concerns that these distingrating wrecks could release the oil mostly still contained in their hulls. Though few of these ships contain anywhere near the oil released by the oil tanker seen sinking in this picture following a U-boat attack, when the oil from these thousands of ships is aggregated together it is estimated by some to total well in excess of the oil released by 2010's Deepwater Horizon spill.  The battleship USS Arizona, sitting on the bottom of Pearl Harbos since its infamous December 7, 1941 sinking by Japanese aircraft, is estimated to contain some 600,000 gallons of fuel oil alone.

In addition, even when easily accessible, many of these ships contain all sorts of toxic chemicals, munitions and other such dangers that could potentially hamper any clean up effort. Then, there are many other ships that are largely out of reach under thousands of feet of water. Finally, considerations of families whose loved one's are entombed in wrecks that are rightfully regarded as sacred war graves also have to be considered. Thus, dealing with these wrecks will remain a problem whose handling is such that future generations will doubtlessly bear burdens that, although nowhere near that suffered by those who lost their lives during the war, will be costly in their own way.


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