U-864 threatens North Sea mercury spill
German submarine U-864 was sunk by the Royal Navy some 62 years ago.
She now lies on the bottom of the North Sea at a depth of 500 feet,
just off the isle of Fedje. The exact location was discovered by the
Norwegian navy in 2003, prompting research into U-864’s final mission,
known as Operation Caesar.
Operation Caesar sent
U-864 to Japan carrying a cargo of Japanese scientists and almost 2,000
containers of weapons-grade mercury weighing 65 tonnes.
The deadly cargo was to be used in the development of weapons to
bolster Japan’s efforts against the Allies in the Pacific war. This, it
was hoped, would divert attention and assets from the European war and
allow Germany to regroup and stay in the fight.
As you’ve already learned, that cargo is now lying on the bottom of
the North Sea, and the 2000 canisters of mercury have now corroded to
the point where the deadly toxin is leaking into the open sea,
threatening the local ecosystem and could eventually make it’s way up
the food chain to man.
A plan has begun begin building a protective dome over the site to prevent migration into the North Sea.