Landesportal Schleswig-Holstein

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Munitionsbelastung der deutschen Meeresgewässer

Recommandations (2011)

Based on the knowledge obtained and assessments made, the working group has developed the following proposals for action.

Historical and technical research

  • Provide the required resources for analysing existing archival information about the locations as well as the types and amounts of dumped warfare materials.
    Archives of the former allied forces, who supervised a large part of the dumping operations, need to be incorporated into this effort as much as possible.
  • Investigate in detail any presence of potential warfare material objects below the sea surface, discovered in the course of targeted studies or by chance. In particular: Request additional investigations by the German Navy of the four objects that have still not been clearly identified in the area of the access corridor to the munitions dumpsite in the Bornholm Basin.
  • Assess whether a systematic location survey for submerged warfare materials should be carried out in German territorial waters and, as appropriate, which prioritisation and methods should be used.

Inspection and monitoring of environmental impacts

  • Develop appropriate methods for assessing and monitoring submerged munitionscontaminated areas, since necessity demands an improvement of the current status of knowledge regarding the environmental impacts of submerged warfare materials. Focus on the study and evaluation of the hazard potential of the nearshore areas as well as the most heavily munitions-contaminated areas.
    Carry out additional investigations to support assessments of the overall situation, which so far have been based on isolated finds. Furthermore, investigations on the susceptibility of different types of munitions to corrosion should be carried out to provide robust information about the corrosiondependent release of warfare material-type compounds into water and sediments.
  • Decide on the need for further action based on the inspection and evaluation of munitionscontaminated areas (vide supra), taking into account ecological, economic and technical aspects. The overriding question for every assessment is whether an immediate danger exists that needs to be averted. Further options can be considered on the basis of the recommendations, all the way up to a remediation.

Handling of hazardous situations

  • Declare a fishing ban for the Helgoland Basin munitions dumpsite, which is already annotated with ‘contaminated (gas munitions)’ on nautical charts.
  • Review and, if necessary, develop guidance documents and rules of conduct for particularly dangerous activities involving direct or indirect contact with the sea floor, and assure the public availability of the relevant information.
  • Assure adequate availability of the recommendation and information document on ‘Fishing up and finding munitions’ developed by the working group.
  • Expand the range of options available for warfare material disposal (explosive ordnance disposal) continuously with new, alternative procedures that integrate up-to-date technological developments.

Channels for reporting and documentation (Effective 2013)

Effective 2013:
With the beginning of 2013 the Joint Dispatch for Waterways Police within the German Maritime Safety and Security Center will serve as a national point of contact. For more information follow the Munitions encountered .

Original Recommandation (Effective 2011):
Advance the development of reporting channels and reporting systems in Germany: Create a central registration office to which all incidents occurring in the German North and Baltic Seas are reported for documentation.
The data collected should be available for various purposes such as periodic reports related to international agreements (OSPAR, HELCOM).