German WWII submarine in Norway threatens Russia’s fishing in the Arctic
© RIA Novosti. Alexei Danichev

German WWII submarine in Norway threatens Russia’s fishing in the Arctic

A mercury spill, which may occur on a German WWII submarine that sunk near Bergen (Norway) threatens to destroy all Russian fishing in the Arctic, said Head of the Pomor Center of Environmental Consulting and Monitoring Timofei Surovtsev at a news conference in Moscow.

RIA Novosti reports that according to the Head of the Green Warriors of Norway Kurt Oddekalv (his video address was shown at the news conference), there is a potential ‘mercury bomb' in Norway, which may destroy the North Sea.  He was referring to the German submarine U-864 that was sunk near Bergen in 1945. It has 65 tons of mercury on board and probably two tons of uranium oxide. Now the submarine is at a depth of 150 meters near to the Fedje Island. The Green Warriors of Norway is critical about the decision to eliminate the waste because a cover from sand and stones does not rule out that mercury could leak into the water in the long-term.

RIA Novosti quotes Surovtsev as saying: "Norway is an earthquake-prone zone and such an event can shake it at any time and nothing will be left of the safe confinement. Mercury will leak into the North Sea in no time. Then it will flow into the Barents Sea and reach Russian shores. In effect, all fishing in the Arctic will be destroyed."

He noted that Pomor suggested discussing the problem in the State Duma and the Federation Council but nobody replied to his proposals. He added that if the information on uranium oxide is confirmed, the potential danger may be incomparably bigger.

"In addition to technogenic pollution, radiation contamination  may occur as well, and this will last for thousands of years, Surovtsev noted.

According to Kurt Oddecalv's son Ruben who is also a member of the same organization and who took part in the news conference via Skype, the project chosen by the Norwegian authorities provides for putting the submarine into a sarcophagus. It will cost 440 Norwegian kronas (about 3.4 billion rubles). At the same time, an attempt to bring the submarine up to the surface and clean the bottom will have a price tag of 1.8 billion kronas (almost 14 billion rubles).