Wednesday, May 31, 2006
A federal research ship will get as close as 600 feet from Oahu's Leeward Coast as it looks for World War II-era military weapons dumped off Waianae decades ago. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration vessel will also look for artillery shells, mortars and other munitions in waters as shallow as 18 feet. The Pentagon asked NOAA to assess the dangers posed by the weapons after Waianae community members and Hawaii's congressional delegation voiced their concerns.The military will decide what to do about the weapons after NOAA finishes its survey report this fall. The NOAA ship Manacat will first use sonar to look for anomalies on the seabed. It will then have a robot take visual images of the suspected weapons. The researchers also plan to dispatch divers to take sediment, water, and fish samples to help them analyze the impact the weapons have had on the environment.