Microkhan by Brendan I. Koerner

Mines Never Sleep

March 4th, 2010 · 2 Comments

From the frigid waters of the Baltic Sea, a depressing reminder about the extremely long-term dangers posed by mines:

Dozens of Second World War mines that litter the floor of the Baltic Sea will be detonated by a British company this spring in the biggest commercial mine-clearance programme in history.

Sebastian Sass, head of EU representation for Nordstream, the company behind the €7.5 billion (£6.5 billion) project, said: “We have tried to establish a corridor for the pipeline that avoids the areas where we know there are the most munitions. But we still need to clear about 70 by blasting.”

He said it would take up to two days to clear each mine, some of which contain 300kg of high explosive. The full operation, which can take place only in good weather.

For our fellow gearheads in the audience, here’s the skinny on how the clearance will be done. Robots will be do the hard part—actually placing the charges next to the unexploded mines—so the employees of Bactec International at least have better jobs than this poor bloke.

The Baltic Sea situation makes us wonder how many unexploded mines may still pepper the floor of San Francisco Bay. Yes, we mined the heck out of that scenic, shark-infested waterway.

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