When the UFO is a Military Explosive

Published on January 11th, 2017

A growing concern for offshore races is the danger of UFOs – unidentified floating objects. While on occasion it is a collision with a marine mammal, it is too frequently a result of items not meant for the sea – timber, trash, or worse, shipping containers.

But what about military explosives? An unexploded mine believed to be from WWII was recently found floating north-west of Norderney in the German sector of North Sea.

Germany’s Central Command for Maritime Emergencies said the mine was found January 10 by a security vessel at the edge of the Gode Wind 2 offshore wind farm in Germany.

The mine will be towed to shore where it is expected to be detonated on a sandbank of the River Jade. The plan to detonate the mine at sea was cancelled due to weather conditions, the Command for Maritime Emergencies said.

Between 1940 and 1945, U.S. and British air forces dropped 2.7 million tons of bombs on Europe, half of that amount on Germany. It is believed that as many as 10 percent of the bombs dropped by Allied aircraft had failed to explode.

Even now, over 70 years later, more than 2,000 tons of unexploded munitions are uncovered on German soil every year. Before any construction project begins in Germany, from the extension of a home to track-laying by the national railroad authority, the ground must be certified as cleared of unexploded ordnance.

Do we need to be sweeping the race courses now too?

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