It’s one thing to say there will be shipwrecks in the future. It’s another to say three inactive Navy warships– Kilauea, Niagara Falls and Concord–will be sent to a watery grave off Hawaii later this month. Here’s the scoop:
The US Navy recently announced that it will resume sinking old warships for target practice. The program, called Sinkex, was put on hold in 2012 after conservation groups sued the Navy claiming that the sunken ships pollute the waters. Unsurprisingly Sinkex had gone on for years with minimal oversight. Since 1999, the EPA required the Navy to document the toxic waste, such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) left on the doomed ships. Let’s just say some outside groups have questioned how rigorous this self reporting was. But like efforts to protect whales from Navy sonar, this reasonable effort by environmentalists to protect our oceans failed to trump “national security.” The Navy says that the practice of forcibly sinking sinks provides valuable live-fire training for soldiers. The ships can be targeted from the air, ocean’s surface or underwater, giving ship designers useful information about how to build better and stronger ships.
Damn the pollution. Full speed ahead!