Page 33: of Marine Technology Magazine (June 2012)

AUV Arctic Operations

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The divers surfaced quickly, ?beating their bubbles to the surface? as one diver described it later. A call to the Police Bomb Squad transferred the call up the line to the Navy Ex- plosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) staff across the Sound at Navy Base Kitsap and noti ed the Coast Guard. A request came back to deploy the Port?s underwater camera and relay the images. The video con rmed the military ordnance iden- ti cation.The potential impact on cruise operations scheduled to begin in three days was an immediate concern. The Coast Guard would not allow vessels into port if there was any possibility of harm to the 2000+ passengers. According to Port of Seattle marketing  gures, the ships bring over $400M in annual rev- enue to the region. Disrupting cruise operations would create serious problems.By afternoon, the dock, located 10 miles from the heart of downtown Seattle, was alive with Navy EOD divers and boats, and Army EOD support vehicles; followed quickly by media helicopters hovering overhead hoping for some  ashy pictures for the evening news. Eventually it was determined that this 5? diameter shell was a training round, the same size, shape and weight as the real thing, but unarmed. It had likely been resting quietly on the bottom since World War II when the pier was owned by the Navy and used to provision military vessels. A stamp on the end dated the shell to March, 1945. Although the shell added some excitement to a normally routine dive, it was never a threat to anyone?s safety. The EOD team packed up and went home, returning the pier to routine operations. The peace and serenity was not to last. The next scheduled dive found more items similar in size and appearance. More excitement, more Navy teams, but still it seemed the discover- ies were just coincidental and harmless.The summer proceeded quietly with only a few small items described as Munitions Debris (MD) turning up. The cruise ships with their powerful bow thrusters continued to scour the bottom  ve days a week until their last sailing in late Septem- ber. On their  nal descent of the season, the divers found another cache of projectiles. The dive team assumed they had another training round on their hands and brought it to the surface only to discover that this  nd had an added attraction - it appeared to have an intact fuze. No longer were they dealing with inert training rounds, these had the potential for damage and injury. Again the Navy EOD team took charge of the scene, eventu- ally recovering a 3? armor-piercing round, a mechanical timer fuze, and a 20mm small arms casing.According to Sgt. Addison, it was quickly obvious their somewhat temperamental underwater video equipment was outdated. ?We got a new HD 1080P video camera for the job,? said Addison. The new camera, a Bonica Snapper, with twin G8V 15 LED video lights was brought into play several times giving experts on the dry side a chance to see what the divers on the wet side were seeing. These discoveries changed the game. The Pentagon declared the site a Formerly Used Defense Site (FUDS) making reme- diation funds available and placing the project under the con- trol of the US Army Corp of Engineers (USACE). Oversight of the project was handed to Seattle District Corps Command- er, Col. Anthony O. Wright. He was assisted by the Kansas District in Omaha for their expertise in the FUDS program. The Þ rst object was a 5? training round stamped March 1945. Remotely Operated Underwater Munitions Retrieval System (ROUMRS) from Oceaneering.The Þ rst discovered round with an intact fuze, recovered from the silt beneath the Pier 91 cruise ship dock. Photo Credit: US Army Corps of Engineers Photo Credit: Oceaneering or US Army Photo Credit: Port of Seattle Marine Technology Reporter 33MTR #5 (18-33).indd 33MTR #5 (18-33).indd 336/1/2012 10:56:34 AM6/1/2012 10:56:34 AM

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