August 7, 2017 (Peliliu, Palau) Cleared Ground Demining (CGD) with funding from the New Zealand Government, has just completed a task removing over 8.5 tons of WWII ordnance from a Japanese ammunition barge that had sunk during WWII next to Peleliu Channel.
A large total of 167 of the 200mm projectiles were discovered, many of them leaking toxic chemicals into the water not far from Peleliu’s Teluleu Marine Conservation Area. The location of the sunken barge was also a human security concern to Peleliu State as the channel into Peleliu’s North Dock is a main point of access for the people of Peleliu, with Peleliu’s fuel and food supplies dependent on this access, as well for boats bringing dive and WWII tourists.
A spokesperson for the not-for -profit NGO Cleared Ground, said that CGD worked closely with Peleliu State to prioritize the removal of this leaking ordnance without delay utilizing CGD’s highly trained local teams, as it was only a matter of time before more of these 73 year old rusting projectiles began to leak, causing a greater environmental threat to Palau’s pristine oceans and a more involved and costly removal task.
CGD conducts extensive WWII research to assist in the location of ordnance in Palau, and the spokesperson also added that WWII historians were excited by CGD locating the barge, as it helps explain why Peleliu’s large 200mm gun on Bloody Nose Ridge, which is a favorite site for tourists to Peleliu, is said never to have been fired. CGD said there are many WWII reports by US pilots of Japanese ammunition barges being struck, as Japanese Forces began to run low on ammunition on Peleliu, and many attempts were made to send ammunition re-supplies from Babeldaob to Peleliu, often under the cover of night. (contributed) [/restrict]