WW I gas sickens fishermen in Massachusetts

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by DavidBOC, Jun 8, 2010.

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  1. Not sure if this is current affairs or US forum material but if this is wrong, Mods please move it.

    Monday morning a clam dreger, the F/V ESS Pursuit dredged up 10 canisters from waters south east of the tip of Long Island, NY. The canisters were about 3 inches in diameter and 12 inches long and according to one of the fishermen were "bullet shaped" and had dates of 1918 marked on them. The men reported burning sensations and blistering after handling the cylinders. The vessel put into New Bedford harbor on the south coast of Massachusetts. The vessel disembarked one sick man to an ambulance and started out to sea, then returned with an additional sick crewman. At this point, the USCG Captain of the Port of Providence, RI issued a "Captain of the Port" order that the vessel stop and anchor. The Coast Guard called in the Mass. based 1st Civil Support Team consisting of 25 Army National Guard active duty members specializing in chemical and biological weapons.
    At this point 4 of the 6 crew members have symptoms. Two were treated and released by the hospital, one is in St Lukes hospital in New Bedford and one's condition worsened at St Lukes and has been transferred to Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. FYI Mass General is a first class trauma facility and also has a hyperbaric chamber used for breathing disorders.

    The clams had been offloaded and sold in New Bedford but the National Marine Fisheries Service has embargoed the clams until it is determined they are not contaminated.

    The cylinders apparently contain nitrogen mustard gas but 1st CST is continuing testing. The fishing vessel crew had thrown the cylinders overboard at the location where they were dredged up but supposedly hd a good GPS fix which was provided to the Coast Guard.

    There are currently 103 Civil Support Teams in the US, at least one in each state IIRC. I have worked with the Mass. 1st CST and they are very highly trained and competent.
  2. bugger unlucky that stuff has no use by date some numptys buried random caches of the stuff all over the UK :(
    also load left in france and belgium
  3. F'ing hell... you would think better care was taken with chemical shells from the period but alas that was not the case. On Ft. Lewis back in '88 some troopies were digging a mortar pit and came across an old ammunition bunker stacked high with mustard shells that was long buried and forgotten. Makes you wonder how many other horrors are awaiting discovery out there...
  4. There's quite a bit on Google about sea dumping of munitions. There were some pictures in either Angling Times or Anglers Mail a few years ago of Cod that had terrible chemical burns on them supposedly caused by Mustard gas shells
  5. There was a programme on Channel 4 a while back about a mine that was found.
    While they were there, the programme makers also filmed the Belgian ordinance disposal people. It seems that farmers plough up all sorts of nasty things on a regular basis and then it has to be made safe.
    Some of the shells were almost rusted through and the Belgians said that a lot of it was very unstable.
  6. Nope, placed at the edge of the road along with all the other blinds until they get picked up by the Belgian/French EOD. Mind you if you want to open them up be my guest, I'll be the one watching fron 2kms upwind.

    We just dumped ours in the Irish Sea.
  7. Covered at length here.
    There's about 2 million tons of old WW1 and 2 hardware rotting in the sea off SW Scotland.
  8. "bugger unlucky that stuff has no use by date some numptys buried random caches of the stuff all over the UK"

    There are munitions dumps all round the UK Coastline, and one in particular in the Thames Estuary where an ammunition ship was bombed during WW2. I dont say they all contain chemical weapons, but these dumps exist pretty much all round our coast. For obvious reasons they are marked to prohibit fishing through these dumps.
  9. I live near beaufort's dyke, and for a while it was giving up its sunken treasures to the local coastline. I cant remember what disturbed it ...

    I remember they were proposing a pipeline through beaufort's dyke from SW Scotland to NI and someone suggested it might not be a good idea to put a gas pipe through an ammunition dump.

    clever chaps they were, not like me, ye ken.
  10. remember talking to some sapper type who unfortunately was the go to guy for chemical weapon finds.
    about the only good thing about his job was the look on the faces of police builders who were standing around casually the pit when he approached in full kit and spacesuit :twisted:
  11. 3" Stokes Mortar shells, EOD finds them all the time at West Point and Cp. Smith NY. Most are filled with Sand, bu now and again the Nasty stuff is found.
  12. Where i work we have EOD on site at the mo, been on site for over a year
    They have found hundreds of stokes ( the site was used to develop them i am led to beleive) . There are records of the nasty stuff coming on site but never leaving !! 8O I guess one day they will find a rather large cache or not hopefully !

    Kind regards

  13. I thought it was a pipeline that disturbed the stuff think most of it was phos shells that washed up think stuff washed up as far as Troon
  14. For your info found this

    Attached Files:

  15. Remember they found a big dump of chemical WW1 ordnance at - I think - Bordon in the late 70s or early 80s...or it might have been Bramshill?