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Problems in Locating Historic, Unexploded Ordnance in the Baltic Sea

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Throughout history, the Baltic Sea has been the scene of wars and conflict. From the Middle Ages to the Cold War, countries have sent their warships and fleets to the Baltic Sea to fight. The relicts of conflicts before 1900 are interesting from an historical perspective, but they are not dangerous. The ammunition used in World Wars I and II, especially from small, intensive battles with smaller forces, are dangerous relics that require special attention. The presence of various kinds of unexploded ordnance (UXO) is known, but their exact locations on the bottom of the sea remain unknown. It is generally accepted that more than 175,000 mines were laid in the Baltic Sea and its approaches, the Skagerrak and Kattegat, during the world wars. Many of the mines have been swept or destroyed, and many more mines have been located during subsequent disposal operations. Although documentation of munitions use is fragmented and is often incomplete, a comprehensive research effort has made operations in the Baltic Sea much more efficient and effective. Locating UXO in the Baltic Sea is aided by knowledge of historic sea charts, navigation procedures, and the use of modern survey equipment.

Keywords: documentation of dumped amunition; mine warfare; post-war minesweeping; relocation problems

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2011-11-01

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  • The Marine Technology Society Journal is the flagship publication of the Marine Technology Society. It publishes the highest caliber, peer-reviewed papers on subjects of interest to the society: marine technology, ocean science, marine policy and education. The Journal is dedicated to publishing timely special issues on emerging ocean community concerns while also showcasing general interest and student-authored works.
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