By covering over 67 tonnes of mercury, the Norwegian Coastal Administration will break with a waste regulation that was adopted in 2008, which requires that metallic mercury must be secured against, among other things, atmospheric water, and stored deep inside rocks that have already been deformed, salt mines etc. A salt water landfill for mercury would be extremely risky, and break this regulation. Norway is also in breach of the OSPAR convention which, among other things, regulates 19 member states around the North Sea In addition to the EU, where the requirement is that the individual countries are responsible for cleaning up pollution in the marine environment.
OSPAR takes up the matter
Norway has not registered U-864 as a potential source of pollution in the marine environment since 2003. The case has never been registered in OSPAR's database of toxic waste in marine environments.
The Swedish Environmental Protection Agency and other pressure groups for the lifting of U-864 have contacted the OSPAR secretariat and members to report the mercury contamination by covering. Only members and observers in OSPAR can report cases, says Norway's representative in OSPAR, Anja Elisenberg in Ministry of Climate and the Environment.
Now other OSPAR members will take up the mercury case U-864 with Norway, we see this as gratifying for the environment and the future, and that U-864 is no longer just a local case in Fedje, says Kurt Oddekalv, leader of the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency.
No mercury bottles found in 15 years
We also see that in 15 years the Norwegian Coastal Administration has not yet found a single representative mercury bottle from the cargo keel or in the sediments under the other wreckage from the submarine. This means that they do not know the condition of the 1,848 mercury bottles, each of which contains approx. 2.5 liters of mercury in approx. 32 kg weight.
The Norwegian Coastal Administration has thus made a decision on covering blindly, and in addition the Norwegian Coastal Administration has only used expertise that supports covering as a decision-making basis.
Selective knowledge acquisition
The knowledge base that has formed the basis for professional assessments of mercury pollution and possible measures is weak, and the Norwegian Coastal Administration has also used so-called experts on mercury, without a relevant professional background. The Norwegian Coastal Administration has also dismissed suction dredging methods that could have removed contaminated masses. The Norwegian Coastal Administration has set a requirement that the mercury pollution level on the seabed must be lower after the environmental measure than before it started. The Norwegian Environmental Protection Association believes that it is more important to get as much mercury out of the marine environment as possible, even if you spill some mercury along the way.