The Norwegian Coastal Administration overlooks new technology for raising U-864

Rambøll's report "U-864 New information on mercury and new technology for lifting cargo" has been delivered to the Coastal Agency on 26 March 2019. The Coastal Agency's recommendation to the Ministry of Transport is the same as in 2014: Covering up

The Norwegian Coastal Administration does not take into account significant elements in The Rambøll report:

  • S. 18 There are weaknesses in previous risk analyses.
  • S. 18 Covering is risky because the site is exposed to strong ocean currents/danger of erosion, and the pollution is not removed from the area.
  • P. 23 U-864 does not leak mercury today. (Means that the cargo keel is in good condition, it does not leak, and the hull parts can be raised!)
  • S. 32 Error about migration of Methylmercury in aerobic environments (top layer with air).
  • S: 32 According to DNV-GL, there are better dredging methods that do not spread sediment as much as previously thought.
  • P. 35 According to UNITECH, the torpedo impact point is higher on the hull, so that more of the cargo keel is intact than the calculations in 2003 and 2006.
  • S. 35 Greater risk of collapse/explosion under a covering mantle than when raising the wreckage.
  • P. 40 Spot dredging can be done to remove heavily polluted parts of the seabed.
  • P. 41 Possibilities for dredging the seabed and separating the mercury before lifting the dredge.
  • P. 42 Possibilities for identifying mercury bottles and mercury on the seabed.
  • P. 44 Collection of mercury bottles from the keel is critical.
  • S. 46 Reputational risk was previously missing, and should be included .
  • P. 46 An explosion can lead to dispersion in the water column. (Worst case scenarios have not been included in the risk assessment previously)
  • P. 47 Rambøll is critical of previous risk analyzes (2014).
  • S. 48 Earthquakes can crack open a covering layer and lead to the spread of mercury.
  • S. 48 Demethylation can take place in an aerobic top layer is critical. (This is only theoretically based.)
  • P. 49 Raising whole wreckage parts will lead to less spreading of contaminated seabed than removing bottles from the cargo keel.
  • P. 49 ch. 5.5 Small danger of self-detonation of torpedoes. Covering it with stone can lead to collapse and ignition of explosives.


The Coastal Agency is going ahead with the same solution as before, covering.
The Coastal Administration has skipped over the new elements that have come to light in the Rambøll report on new technology for raising the wreck with the cargo, and technology for finding loose mercury bottles, in addition to spot dredging to retrieve spots with heavily polluted seabed.

These measures that Rambøll is putting forward will be able to give a result of 90-99 % removal of mercury from the marine environment.

With the Coastal Agency's recommendation for cover-up, 100% of the mercury will remain in the marine environment, and spread in the food chain as the nerve agent Methylmercury.
It is completely unreal that people responsible for safety, life and health for generations to come can make such an unwise and uncertain decision as a cover-up. Unfortunately, it looks like there is personal prestige with the now completely irresponsible Emergency Preparedness Director Johan Marin Ly and Project Manager U-864, Hans-Petter Laahne Mortensholm, says Kurt Oddekalv, leader of the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency.

We refuse to believe that the two choose the best solution for the environment. They choose cover-up because they have previously promoted the primitive method (cover-up of the pollution), and now - for reasons of prestige - will not budge from their previous recommendations. This despite the fact that new technology has emerged that can raise the large hull parts without spreading the contaminated seabed around the wreck. Most of the mercury pollution in the wreck area comes from what fell out of the submarine after the torpedoing. This can be easily removed after the two hull parts have been raised.

The Rambøll report points out that raising the wreck will not lead to the spread of contaminated seabed, and is safer against leakage than cutting out the mercury bottles from the cargo keel at a depth of 150 metres. It will, among other things, entail the need for extensive dredging work around the cargo keel.

The Environmental Protection Association believes that covering up U-864 and the wreck area is now out of the question, and must be stopped as a method.

Raising with the use of new technology must be implemented based on the following principles:

  1. Lifting of hull parts with the mercury load.
  2. Securing the cargo keel against leakage when the hull parts are raised.
  3. Locating and raising loose mercury bottles at the wreck site.
  4. Selective dredging of heavily polluted spots on the seabed. NB, important: Covering the area when the above has been carried out can be removed from the task list.

It is now important that the Storting is presented with the Rambøll report, so that a decision-making basis for lifting and further planning for lifting can be started.


Download: Letter from the Coastal Administration to the Department of Transport.

Download: U864 report Rambøll – March 2019.


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