Over the weekend we reported that the BP oil platform now dumping 210,000 gallons of crude a day into the Gulf of Mexico was located near several munitions and explosives dumps — but we learned today that it’s near what appears to be 19 of them, or at least 19 listings of such dumps. My suspicion is that one of these old bombs may have gone off when it was struck by heavy equipment on the sea floor, causing the destruction of the platform and the resulting spill.
To our knowledge, this story has appeared only on Planet Waves.
The areas shown in the chart above are within one degree of lat/long of the oil well that exploded April 20. The document above is a sample of chart 411, published by NOAA to aid marine navigation in the Gulf of Mexico. If anyone would like to help shed light on what this means, drop a note to me, or in the comment box below. While we’re here, let’s remove our hats and bow our heads to the unmitigated genius of oil wells and explosive dumps within a few miles of one another.
Carol van Strum, my investigative reporting mentor and one of our editors, is digging through government documents now. She found this quote:
“737 (c) Unexploded Ordnance. The U.S. Air Force has released an indeterminable amount of unexploded ordnance throughout Eglin Water Test Areas. The exact location of the unexploded ordnance is unknown, and lessees are advised that all lease blocks included in this sale within these water test areas should be considered potentially hazardous to drilling and platform and pipeline placement.”
And this one:
“Two of the latest directives from the Minerals Management Service indicate a growing concern about Unexploded Ordnance (UXO) located in close proximity to deepwater exploration and development sites within the Gulf of Mexico (NTLs 2006-G12 and 2007-G01)”
Here is a link to the source document. Anyone who wants to contact me about this can use my direct email, dreams – at – planetwaves.net. I can connect you with Carol, who has a handle on these documents.