Last week the US Navy was forced to dump four bombs into the blue waters of the World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef Marine Park after a training exercise went wrong. After spotting civilian boats in their designated training area and running low on fuel, the four planes dumped their bombs into 160-foot deep waters near the reef. Now, the US Navy has agreed to remove the bombs, two of which carry explosives, from the ecologically sensitive area.
The Navy was quick to take responsibility for the problem and will work with Australian authorities to remove the bombs. The bombs sit anywhere from 160-feet to 200-feet deep, so they aren’t a risk to shipping boats or to the delicate corals of the reef itself. The US 7th Fleet will handle recovery and the Navy claims that they will be easily recovered by divers.
The Great Barrier Reef has experienced increased threats over the years as commercial ships pass through the area and climate change devastates the area, which has led some environmentalists to question the wisdom of holding military training exercises in the area in the first place.