WARNING: Handle With Care!
 Our oceans are home to the discarded munitions of wars past!

In 1987, hundreds of dead dolphins washed up onto the shores of Virginia and New Jersey. Following an investigation, one marine-mammal expert stated that the dolphins showed wounds that resembled chemical burns. It is now believed that these dolphins were exposed to chemical weapons that had been discarded in the ocean. Since World War I, the oceans have been the dumping ground of enormous quantities of captured, damaged, and obsolete chemical, biological, conventional and radiological munitions.

idum.3In many cases, these munitions are resting quietly at the bottom of our oceans. However, in other places, these discarded munitions are causing a myriad of problems. There are risks to both humans and marine ecosystems. Let’s first take a look at the some of the potential risks to humans – explosive or chemically dangerous munitions washing up on beaches, munitions being disturbed/activated by fishing vessels, and the leakage of deadly chemicals into the water contaminating the water and the fish that digest these toxins. As the casings on some of these munitions erode and others detonate, poisonous materials are entering the food chain via plankton.

So, what is being done? In 2004, a Canadian by the name of Terrence Long founded a non-profit organization called the International Dialogue on Underwater Munitions (IDUM). Today, the IDUM is an internationally recognized body where all stakeholders (diplomats, government departments including external affairs, environmental protection and fishery departments, industry, fishermen, salvage divers, oil and gas, militaries and others) can come together in an open and transparent forum to discuss underwater munitions, seek solutions, and promote international teamwork on their issues related to underwater munitions.

Recovered Mustard Gas Canisters

Recovered Mustard Gas Canisters

In most cases, once an underwater munition has been removed, the problem is removed. That being said, the removal of these munitions can be incredibly dangerous and must be conducted by specialized teams trained in the handling of explosives and hazardous materials. In 2013, tourists visiting the Assateague Island National Seashore, a U.S. National Park on the Maryland coast discovered an unexploded ordnance on the beach. Fortunately they reported the find and the beach was closed while an Army bomb squad exploded the World War II-era munitions.

Between 1941 and 2003, the U.S. Navy occupied about 2/3rds of an Island in Puerto Rico called Vieques. The land was used both as a naval ammunition depot and for live training exercises. Operations included not only the storage and processing of supplies, but also the disposal of wastes and munitions of all types. As of 2004, the EPA had listed the presence of contaminants, such as mercury, lead, copper, magnesium, lithium, napalm, and depleted uranium, as well as unexploded ordnance and remnants of exploded ordnance.

As of 2014, the Navy has spent about $220 million since 2003, to investigate and clean contaminated lands on Vieques. For the remainder of Fiscal Year 2015 Congress appropriated $17 million for the cleanup of Vieques. While it is fantastic that there is forward momentum on the clean-up up this particular area, the effects are showing themselves in many very visible ways. The cancer rate in Vieques is 27% higher than mainland Puerto Rico and the infant mortality rate is much higher than other areas in Puerto Rico. These staggering numbers have turned Vieques into the poster child example of this issue. Unfortunately, the subject of underwater munitions isn’t sexy and doesn’t get the attention that is needs and deserves.

Noseart Bombs AwayThings YOU can do to make a difference! Educate yourself on this issue, research where you live and locations you make be visiting, talk to others about this issue so more people know, write to your government representatives to let them know you care about this issue, and if possible, make a donation to organizations like the IDUM so they can advocate for all of us. Underwater munitions might be “out of sight” but they have the capacity to make a huge impact on your health and the health of our future generations.

Marine & Oceanic Sustainability Foundation, Pangaeon and the SEAS Corporation announce Collaborative Alliance

April 15, 2015 – WILMINGTON, Del. — The Marine & Oceanic Sustainability Foundation (MOSF) is pleased to announce a collaborative alliance with the Sustainable Environment Associates (SEAS) Corporation and it’s subsidiary Pangaeon on an initiative called GUARDIAN. Designed to protect, restore and nurture island communities around the globe, GUARDIAN has brought together an experienced executive team of global sustainability leaders. MOSF Managing Director, Jennifer Pitzer, has joined the GUARDIAN Development Team and will be actively participating in the integration of geotourism and citizen science activities.

“I am honored to join such a distinguished team of professionals. The GUARDIAN team includes sustainability leaders in the areas of energy, culture, finance, engineering, tourism, climate, education and technology,” stated Jennifer Pitzer, MOSF Managing Director. “GUARDIAN is addressing important issues facing island communities including sea level rise, fossil fuel energy dependence, waste management, food security, biosecurity, potable water shortage, the loss of cultural heritage, and critical socio-economic factors.”

“MOSF fills a crucial role on our diverse, international team with its focus on community empowerment and education as it relates to sustainability sciences. These two ingredients are fundamental to the successful development and legacy of GUARDIAN’s mission. In addition, MOSF is a valuable asset in our Public Private Partnership development framework,” said Paul Bierman-Lytle, President and Chairman of Pangaeon/SEAS Corporation.

MOSF and GUARDIAN are specifically collaborating on geotourism, citizen science, and empowerment/capacity building programs that benefit residents, visitors and the environment. In partnership with local communities, universities, governments and NGOs, MOSF is developing tourism-based activities that encompass the cultural heritage of the community and foster a sustainable environment for existing and future generations.

GUARDIAN has developed island-based models for assessing, implementing and optimizing utility and infrastructure systems. These integrated sustainability models establish sustainable ‘life support’ systems, including energy, water, food, waste conversion, ecological sewage treatment, eco-transportation, biosecurity, and natural disaster preparedness and resilience.

MOSF and GUARDIAN share the goal of establishing environmentally and financially sustainable models based on tourism centric businesses that keep revenue on-island. Tourism initiatives focus on ‘adventure tourism’ and include land, ocean, cultural and agri-based (food production) activities.

“I am excited by this collaboration, which works with communities set to position islands at the front line of demonstrating solutions to climate change, and which highlights the economic opportunity for all,” said Maya Doolub, Guardian Director.

This collaborative partnership brings together two passionate organizations with solid backgrounds in sustainability, engineering, business, technology, tourism and marine conservation. Both organizations share an entrepreneurial spirit and commitment to investing in green energy, sustainable development principles, and reproducible programs that empower local communities.

About the Marine & Oceanic Sustainability Foundation

Founded in 2013, the Marine & Oceanic Sustainability Foundation (MOSF) is dedicated to the advancement of marine conservation and sustainability projects. MOSF engages in market-driven, tourism centric programs that balance ocean health, human prosperity and emphasize marine stewardship. We establish geotourism and citizen science activities, which sustain or enhance the geographic well being of a destination, emphasize the culture and history of the area, and benefit both visitors and residents. For more information, please visit our website at: www.mosfoundation.org

About GUARDIAN (an initiative of Pangaeon/SEAS Corp.)

GUARDIAN is a sustainability solutions integrator focused on two business components that have been missing in sustainable developments:

1. Integration of utilities and infrastructure: to maximize efficiency among systems, reduce CAPEX and OPEX, provide reliable services especially during natural disasters, and expand community infrastructure services. These actions result in a high performance ‘utility and infrastructure ecosystem’.

2. Profitability: develop project components that generate revenue in a shorter time and with high IRR as the top business priority. Prove that sustainability solutions are profitable and good career choices for young people.

To achieve these goals, GUARDIAN has assembled C-level experts from a variety of international firms that are multi-disciplined, systems integrators, innovators, action-oriented and results-driven. GUARDIAN’s unique team provides expertise in all key sustainability components required to build a ‘community ecosystem’ that is built for longevity and capital independence.


See the actual press release online.