Last week the United States dropped four bombs on the Great Barrier Reef when a training exercise went awry. Although the bombs were unarmed and did not explode, nor created any physical damage to the reef, the event has created quite a stir among conservationists and news outlets alike (the Great Barrier Reef has been bombed! creates quite a catchy headline). The accident occurred during a training exercise part of the Talisman Saber, which is a joint initiative between the US and Australia in which 28,000 military personal come together over a period of three weeks. The bombs were dropped when an emergency prevented the carriers from landing with the bombs on board. The bombs were dumped in 164 feet of water (50 meters), away from any reef structure, although allegedly a nearby boat was almost hit.
Since the bombs were unarmed the combined 2,000 pounds of steel will most likely form the base for new coral growth in the future and pose no threat to marine life or boats alike, but beside the minimal impact the question is still raised whether training initiatives like this should be carried out at all near such and important ecological wonder as the Great Barrier Reef. At the end of the day the story is certainly more media hype than anything, but any news that brings attention to our seriously threatened reefs can be considered a good thing.
[via BBC news]