Skip Navigation

Close and don't show again.

Your browser is out of date.

You may not get the full experience here on National Journal.

Please upgrade your browser to any of the following supported browsers:

U.S. Accidentally Drops 2,000 lbs. of Bombs on the Great Barrier Reef U.S. Accidentally Drops 2,000 lbs. of Bombs on the Great Barrier Reef

This ad will end in seconds
 
Close X

Not a member? Learn More »

Forget Your Password?

Don't have an account? Register »

Reveal Navigation
 

 

Defense

U.S. Accidentally Drops 2,000 lbs. of Bombs on the Great Barrier Reef

Whoops. But they didn't explode.

(AP Photo/Undersea Explorer, HO)

In a joint military exercise with Australia last week, the U.S. Navy dropped four unarmed bombs on the Great Barrier Reef (that thing that's endangered and can be seen from space). None exploded.

No, coral, despite it's propensity to leave some nasty scratches on human flesh, is not part of any new Axis of Evil or conspiring with al-Qaida. The bombs were dropped in an "emergency jettison," and the Navy took precautions to minimize the damage to the World Heritage marine park. 

"The selected emergency jettison area was in a deep channel away from the reef to minimize the possibility of reef damage," reads a statement from the U.S. 7th Fleet. "It is approximately 50 to 60 meters deep and does not pose a hazard to shipping or navigation."

 

According to USA Today, the fighters were on a practice mission to the Townshend Island bombing range, but they couldn't release the payload because of the presence of civilian boats. Underfueled, the jets couldn't land with the bombs on board, so they had to ditch them. A spokesman for the Navy assured multiple news outlets that there is minimal environmental impact, and the Navy has said that it will consider a salvage operation.

Still, environmental groups are not happy. The reef is a protected marine park, after all. From Australia's Sky News:

Australian senator Larissa Waters, Greens party spokeswoman on the Great Barrier Reef, described the dumping of bombs as outrageous and said it should not be allowed.

 

She said: "Have we gone completely mad? Is this how we look after our World Heritage area now? Letting a foreign power drop bombs on it?"

 

Graeme Dunstan, who is among the environmentalists and antiwar activists protesting against the joint exercise, claimed the US military could no longer be trusted to protect the environment.

 

"How can they protect the environment and bomb the reef at the same time? Get real."

U.S. Accidentally Drops Bombs on Great Barrier Reef

LIKE THIS STORY? Sign up for Early Bird

Sign up for our daily newsletter and stay on top of defense coverage.

Sign up form for Early Bird
Job Board
Search Jobs
Biomedical Service Internship Position
American Society of Civil Engineers | Flint, MI
Fire Sprinkler Inspector
American Society of Civil Engineers | Charlotte, NC
Professional Development Program Engineer
American Society of Civil Engineers | Farmington Hills, MI
Deputy Director of Transit Operations
American Society of Civil Engineers | San Jose, CA
Transportation Planner
American Society of Civil Engineers | Salinas, CA
Assistant Professor - Water Resources/Ecological Engineering
American Society of Civil Engineers | Auburn, AL
Product Manager - Chemical Development and Supply - Tulsa, OK
American Society of Civil Engineers | Tulsa, OK
Commissioning Intern
American Society of Civil Engineers | Chicago, IL
Assessment and Remediation Team Lead
American Society of Civil Engineers | Regina, SK
Business Development Manager
American Society of Civil Engineers
Sr. Controls Systems Engineer
American Society of Civil Engineers | Grand Island, NE
Senior Project Manager- Transportation
American Society of Civil Engineers | San Antonio, TX
Materials Engineer 2
American Society of Civil Engineers | IL
Land Surveyor
American Society of Civil Engineers
Quality Engineer
American Society of Civil Engineers | Attica, IN
 
Comments
comments powered by Disqus