MERCW research cruises during summer 2007 (part 2)

PRESS RELEASE 2007-06–24
Modelling of Ecological Risks Related to Sea-Dumped Chemical Weapons (MERCW)

Additional research cruise during summer 2007

Scientific expeditions are being carried out during the summer 2007 in the framework of the EC MERCW project (“Modelling of Environmental Risks related to Sea-Dumped Chemical Weapons”). The main goal of the MERCW research project is to study the possible impact of seadumped chemical weapons (CW) to the Baltic marine ecosystem, and based on the acquired data to model the risks related to the sea-dumped CW. These expeditions will
concentrate on detecting the buried objects and taking samples for chemical analyses in the Bornholm Basin.

Cruise #2 in the Bornholm Basin

on board R/V Fritz Reuter
June 24, 2007 – July 5, 2007

From 24 June till 5 July 2007 a geophysical survey will be carried out on board R/V “Fritz Reuter” in the Bornholm Basin, east of the island of Bornholm.

During the geophysical survey, combined acoustic and magnetic measurements will be performed. The magnetic investigations will be carried out using a newly developed magnetometer (consisting of multiple magnetic sensors) towed a few meters above the seafloor. The acoustic measurements will be carried out using different acoustic sources and receivers, both very high frequency (10 kHz) and low frequency (1 kHz).

The magnetic measurements will allow to obtain important information on the exact location, and possibly also the burial depth, of the dumped munition. The acoustic (seismic) measurements will allow obtaining a detailed picture of the shallow sediments as well as the deeper geology. Finally the combination of magnetic and acoustic information will lead to a detailed image of the internal structure of the munition dumpsite and the distribution (both lateral and vertical) of the dumped munition.

The area of investigation will mainly focus on certain "hot spots" where geophysical, chemical, and microbiological measurements during previous expeditions have indicated the possible presence of chemical warfare – although so far the measured chemical contamination was very low. During these previous scientific surveys a number of shipwrecks were detected, but no observation was made of munition lying on the seabed. Fishermen operating in the area, however, have repeatedly found bombs and fragments of bombs in their nets, as a clear
indication of the presence of dumped warfare.



Project coordinator
Tapani Stipa
Finnish Institute of Marine Research
Erik Palménin aukio 1
00561 Helsinki, Finland
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tel. +358 40 505 8090

Scientist in charge of cruise #2
Tine Missiaen
Renard Centre of Marine Geology; Universiteit Gent
Krijgslaan 281 S8
9000 Gent, Belgium
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