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Posted Tue Sep 7 2010: from New Scientist:
Why wartime wrecks are slicking time bombs
Thousands of ships sunk in the second world war are seeping oil - and with their rusty tanks disintegrating, "peak leak" is only a few years away... The second world war saw the greatest-ever loss of shipping: more than three-quarters of the oil-containing wrecks around the globe date from the six years of this war. Sunken merchant ships are scattered around trade routes, the victims of attack by U-boats and other craft aiming to disrupt enemy nations' supply lines. Then there are the naval ships sunk during great engagements such as the attack on Pearl Harbor and the battle of Chuuk Lagoon, the Japanese base in the Pacific where the US sank over 50 Japanese ships. In some locations these hulks are already leaking oil, threatening pristine shorelines, popular beaches and breeding grounds for fish. This year, for example, oil has begun to leak from the Darkdale, a British naval tanker that sank in 1941 near the island of St Helena in the south Atlantic Ocean. It was carrying more than 4000 tonnes of oil when it went down.
[Read more stories about: contamination, oil issues, toxic leak, unintended consequences]

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'Doc Michael says:
War is (sometimes delayed) hell.

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