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Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Norwegians to raise submarine

The Norwegian Government has announced that the wreck of the WW2 German submarine U-864, which contains 65 tons of mercury, is to be raised, and that the contaminated seabed be covered with clean sand.

The submarine, which lies off the Norwegian west coast near Fedje, north of Bergen, has long been considered an environmental hazard by environmental groups and local people.

However, experts have disagreed on whether or not the wreck should be raised or if it would be better to build a sarcophagus which would isolate the mercury from the marine environment, thereby eliminating the pollution hazard.

Head of the Norwegian Marine Safety Directorate, Magne Roedland says the wreck should be raised.

He believes that the strong currents around the wreck will undermine the sarcophagus, resulting in leaks of mercury. The local population agree and have said the wreck must be removed.

This week, Fisheries and Coastal Minister Helga Pedersen announced that she had decided that the wreck will be raised. 'I have given highest consideration to the insecurity felt by the local population, as well as the concern by the fisheries industry over possible contamination of the waters, if the wreck would just be entombed,' she said.