Tricky salvage of German U-boat examined

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The Norwegian Coastal Administration awarded a contract to Mammoet Salvage BV for the possible salvage of the German submarine U-864 and its cargo of mercury.

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On Feb. 9, 1945, the German submarine was torpedoed by the British submarine HMS Venturer. The U-864 sank about 2 nautical miles west of the island Fedje, just north of Bergen. The submarine’s cargo included approximately 67 tons of metallic mercury, which is highly toxic. The U-864 was also carrying a full load of weapons.

The vessel’s wreckage is considered to be a potential long-term threat to human health and the environment.

The Norwegian Parliament has to decide if the wreck and its cargo should be raised to the surface, or be encased on the seabed and the contaminated sediment capped to prevent the spread of pollutants.

Mammoet Salvage has proposed a method to raise the wreck that satisfies the environmental requirements. If the Norwegian Parliament approves this method, the salvage operation is likely to take place in 2010.

The decision will probably be taken in December.

To read Tuesday’s New York Times article on the submarine, click here.

Click here for the complete release from Mammoet Holding.

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