On Monday, a mission for retrieving explosives shall begin from Conception Bay South outside of St. John’s, N.L.
The Military divers shall set out for retrieving the unexploded explosive weapons from the rusting wreckages of the 4 iron ore carriers.
Diver Neil Burgess from the Flatrock, N.L. has said that the ships that were each almost 120 metres long, have now been taken over by beautiful scenes of marine life, having many flower-like anemones as well as fish living in what are basically battle sites.
Even after over 50 dives, Burgess said that the visible evidence of the war and attacks still has a sobering impact every time. He has spotted a few of the mangled places where a ship was struck by a torpedo, and the personal effects that are strewn about from the dozens of martyrs.
Furthermore, Burgess has spotted some artillery shells that were lying on the deck near the stern gun. The ships, that were carrying iron ore from the mines of Bell Island to the steel mills in Sydney, N.S., so that they could be made into war goods, were outfitted with artillery guns to get ready for the German attack.
Burgess, also the President Shipwreck Preservation Society, Newfoundland and Labrador, has estimated that there are almost 50 shells on each of the wreck. He then provided his team behind the dives of this week with old maps of the ships in order to help navigate the process of retrieval.
The dives have been scheduled from July 15th to July 24th. Later, the artillery shall be taken to a shooting range that is about 45 minutes to the west of St. John’s so that it can be detonated.
The military has ordered a survey of 2 of the shipwrecks that took place in 2000 fearing that the divers could accidentally trigger some the leftover explosives.
At the end of the mission, the sites might be made safer for explorers who are eager to vivit the wrecks each year.