That the munitions deposited in Beaufort Dyke poses an ongoing danger was graphically illustrated two decades ago when 100s of devices disturbed by work in the area of the Dyke came ashore.
The Dump site covers an area of about 12 x 8 miles in the North Channel but as this article from the Glasgow Herald (to which CELTIC LEAGUE contributed information to) confirms munitions were disposed of outside the parameters of the dump site and the debris cover an area from NE of the Isle of Man to the Clyde.
“The precise source of the sudden appearance of thousands of dangerous flares, causing so much public anguish, remains to be identified. It emerged that hundreds of thousands of tonnes of munitions – including shells, bombs, landmines, grenades, and rockets – were dropped short of the deep water target off the west coast.
Scottish Environment Minister Lord Lindsay denied there was conclusive evidence to show that British Gas pipe laying operations had dislodged the phosphorus sticks which are inert in water but smoulder spontaneously and burn in the presence of air.
However, he acknowledged in all probability that “there could be a link”.
It was confirmed categorically that the gas pipeline between Scotland and Northern Ireland has been laid through an area where munitions were dropped short. An electricity interconnector will be commissioned when safety criteria are met.
Since October, more than 4000 of the bone-textured cylinders, which look similar to paint rollers, have drifted ashore from Galloway to Campbeltown.
Up to 900 phosphorus flares were recovered in just three days. High concentrations were around Stevenston, Saltcoats, and Arran, although the first injured victim was in Campbeltown.
Beaufort’s Dyke, a 263-fathom trench, lies in the North Channel between Stranraer and Belfast, and is home for thousands of tonnes of chemical weapons and munitions from the Second World War.
The sudden appearance of toxic, explosive materials on popular beaches in October led to a media frenzy, fed in part by many Scottish MPs claiming the seabed excavations for British Gas north of the trench had disturbed the dump.
However, The Herald had spotlighted the problem some 10 years ago when it revealed millions of tons of munitions had been dumped off the south-west coast of Scotland.
At the time, crewmen who had worked on board the ships charged with dumping the dangerous cargoes admitted that to save time they had dumped material in shallower waters before reaching the authorised disposal site.”
THE HERALD SCOTLAND 9th Jan 1996
At the time of the story phosphorous based munitions washed upin Scotland, Ireland as far South as Co Louth and in the Isle of Man.
Illustration: Shows actual dump site but munitions disposal area was over a much greater area from off the Pt of Ayre to the Clyde
Issued by: The Manx branch of the Celtic League
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THE CELTIC LEAGUE
The Celtic League established in 1961 has branches in the six Celtic Countries including our own Mannin branch. It promotes cooperation between the countries and campaigns on a range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlights human rights abuse, military activity and socio-economic issues
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