The United States Navy has announced it will retrieve the bombs that were accidentally dropped on the Great Barrier Reef during a botched training exercise. No harm, no foul right? ...Right?
Last week, US officials confirmed that four inert bombs had been dropped on the Great Barrier Reef from two US AV-8B Harrier aircraft. The bombs were originally meant to be dropped onto Townshed Island as part of a training exercise, but an unclear drop zone prompted the pilots to jettison their deadly cargo after running low on fuel. The bombs were unarmed and did not explode but still contain around 1000kg of high explosives between them.
According to a Herald Sun report, a mine detector ship will be brought in to assist with the search alongside specialist navy divers. It is likely that the retrieval operation will be turned into a makeshift training exercise for both navies.
"As partners with our Australian counterparts, and particularly in the context of Exercise Talisman Saber, the US military conscientiously conforms to the proper rules and protocols set forth by Australian military and civilian authorities," the US Navy said in a statement.
"The US military is aware of its professional responsibility to mitigate the environmental impact of its exercises/operations."
Is it just us, or does this official statement come across as a bit mealy-mouthed? As we mentioned in our initial report, we doubt the US would be stoked if a military ally accidentally bombed one of their national treasures. The fact that the bombs are unlikely to explode doesn't make it kosher. Nemo would be pissed.
[Via Herald Sun]