We interrupt this oil spill

Sample of NOAA chart 411, which lists obstructions, oil fields and 19 explosives dumps in the vicinity of the April 20 explosion of a BP/Transocean/Mitsubishi oil drilling platform. Planet Waves editor and mentor Carol van Strum dug out this chart after reading our coverage from over the weekend.

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.

12 thoughts on “We interrupt this oil spill”

  1. I tried posting a couple of times a couple days ago, but the posts just saying waiting to be moderated then they disappear. This link looks like it might be a job description for the oil spill.

    “If you have found this page looking for job opportunities in the Gulf, you’ve found the right place. Most people on this site are EOD Techs or UXO Techs. We all have to have the OSHA HAZWOPER certification to work on unexploded ordnance.

    Will you be handling unexploded bombs in the Gulf? No! You will be working with those of that do.”


  2. While I initially thought the Explosives Dumping Ground might have been a cause to the effect of the oil spill – I have since read several things that point to more nefarious causes for the ecological disaster in the works..
    My thought process revolves around old “friends” Halliburton and Goldman Sachs.
    There’s this re Halliburton:
    And this re Goldman Sachs:
    The two articles combined remind me a lot of 9/11/01, where United stock shares were shorted the night before the Towers came down.
    What’s his name, Tourre, methinks should be under arrest at the moment, and being grilled with questions just like that poor sucker being blamed for the attack in New York.
    In mho, it is BIZARRE that Goldman pulled this move. Convinces me that Halliburton and Goldman are partners in the plot to create a New World Order that fits to them but screws us and our planet.
    Hah. Wonder what Goldman is betting on the price of oil?

  3. Regarding the whistle-blowing aspect, there is an astrological explanation.

    We usually think of the asteroid Askalaphus as health related or healing energy. However, there is another Askalalphus in mythology. He was the son of the river god Acheron and Gorgyra. He was the one who saw Persophene eat the pomegranate seeds and then went and told Pluto about it. Because of that Persophene was allowed to return to her mother Ceres, but only part of the year, the rest she spent with Pluto in the underworld. This Askalaphus was a tattle tale and now is known as a whistleblower.

    On 4/20 transiting Askalaphus was conjunct transiting Sedna, protector of the sea animals, at 21 Taurus 33. A week or so later transiting Askalaphus was conjunct the U.S. Sibly birthchart Atlantis (who sank into the sea a a result of its people over-emphasizing technology at the price of their humanity) at 23 Taurus 10.

    Transiting Jupiter has been aspecting these planets from Pisces.

    “BP is facing a U.S. investigation over possible safety violations on ANOTHER offshore platform. According to a report in the UK Guardian, a whistleblower has accused BP of breaking the law by not keeping key documents relating to the ATLANTIS oil rig.


  4. Hey Eric,

    Good piece here at Truthout http://www.truthout.org/whistlelower-bps-other-offshore-drilling-project-gulf-vulnerable-catastrophe59027 suggests more of these disasters to come due to cost/corner cutting.

    And just for a wider perspective on the impacts social, political, personal here’s a roundup from the Post Carbon Inistitute http://postcarbon.com/press-release/95968-12-fresh-angles-on-the-gulf

    I’ve been busy messaging the spill as an example of Ecocide – a campaign for a legal definition of this term is being driven by a friend/colleague of mine here in the UK, see: http://www.thisisecocide.org.

  5. My reply to reader T—

    Hi there T—,

    Thanks for your letter.

    I get what you’re saying, and if it means anything to you, my spiritual guidance has moved me forward with this issue from the get go. Once I publish, the information goes right into Google and twitter feeds; it’s out of the bag and there’s no calling it back.

    Switching to logic for a moment, I do have a commitment to report the truth as I know it, as a reporter worthy of the name. The information is out there for everyone to see. I first noticed it on a map that I found in Wikipedia, that was published by NOAA (the US govt). Then we confirmed against other govt documents.

    Rather than helping BP, I think this is scandalous and we need to prevent this from happening to other rigs. Also, BP was warned by the government and had and has an obligation to take measures to prevent such a possibility. BP knows perfectly well there are bombs down there – many documents say so – and if they say something about it, everyone is going to ask why they did nothing about it.

    Ya know?

    CC: Carol van Strum, researcher on the article.

  6. Dear Eric,

    Have you considered that posting this information could be “black gold” to B.P.? Do we really want to provide them with a plausible explanation so they might abdicate their responsibility for this mess and, better yet, blame it on the government? Even if you think they won’t be able to succeed in doing so, how long do you think they can keep this issue tied up in court? Come on, think of those fishermen in Louisiana…B. P.’s already tried offering them up to $5,000 in lieu of waiving their rights to sue B. P. in court.

    You should remove this post immediately. Pull it out after B. P. cleans up the mess and makes everyone whole and, if there’s something to the research, we’ll all have a good laugh at B. P.’s expense. But G-d, Eric, don’t give them the fuel (no pun intended) to make that the other way around!



  7. Brendan, thank you for the context.

    I don’t imagine it would take an especially large shell to cause a problem.

    Just so everyone knows, what I like about this theory is that it could be classified as an honest stupid fuckup instead of, say, someone from Halliburton deliberately blowing up the rig. I am willing to embrace that possibility but I feel better about the human race knowing that who or whatever caused this was inclined to take risks rather than blatantly evil. The ordnance theory gives me a psychological out, for the race of which I am part.

    I set the story aside; Carol (who I guess doesn’t usually read the blog, she just helps me write it, with numerous emails every day) noticed the map, noticed the bomb dumps and started digging.

    She’s the woman who taught me how to handle dioxin and PCB documents. Here is her book — somewhat ancient history, but a beautiful work about the struggle against phenoxy herbicides in the Pacific Northwest.

    Damn, we need a graphic. We need to put the whole book onto the Internet.


    Among friends it’s referred to as “A Bitter Frog.”

  8. Okey dokey: the figures on the left are simply the notations for the corners of the areas involved. I do not know what the “none” means in this context. The latitude & longitude numbers are for the corner itself. “LNM 11/06 8th Dist” stands for a Local Notice to Mariners, the 11th of 2006, and it was issued by the 8th Coast Guard District in New Orleans. This data would have been provided by other agencies most likely, and could be quite old as well. It is most likely ‘policy’ to re-issue these coordinates every few years to accommodate updated data, or even simple bureaucratic inertia.

    The Coast Guard can issue hundreds of Notices to Mariners in a year within just one District, and with such a low number this was likely done on January 1st or thereabouts – which sounds like a routine event.

    EF – very interesting theory about the drilling on a dump site. As I recall, the area around the Mississippi Delta was often used to dump munitions off of ships during and after the Second World War. When a naval ship is going in to a shipyard for work, you have to offload all ammunition and incendiaries. Back then, time was the expedient factor, so instead of unloading it, you simply dumped it. This isn’t done now, thankfully, but then they weren’t dumping missiles and other high tech weaponry, just powder canisters and shells. Some of the dump sites are known, but lots are not, as no one kept anything but the bare minimum of records. The recorded positions, while accurate for their time, are not anywhere near the accuracy of what we can do today.

  9. This is really interesting. I really hope you find out more. Did BP know of this? Who else knew? Of course, we’ll have to find out if BP striking munitions really did cause the explosion.

  10. People are wondering why they’re not burning the oil, setting it on fire. Explosive dumps?

    Also not hearing much about Halliburton.

    From the San Francisco Chronicle
    “Also on Friday, Halliburton Inc., the oil field services giant, responded to speculation that the disaster might have been related to cementing – the process of installing casing to secure the walls of a well.

    A federal study found that cementing problems were associated with almost half of the 39 offshore blowouts from 1992 to 2006, almost all in the Gulf of Mexico, Hearst Newspapers reported earlier this week.

    Halliburton, which performed a number of functions on the rig including cementing, said in its statement that it had completed the casing about 20 hours before the accident. It said it also had conducted tests demonstrating the integrity of the casing.”


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