American technicians examined sea samples and bits of refuse on Wednesday (19 August) following the scuttling of the ship carrying sixty tons of obsolete but deadly nerve gas in the Atlantic Ocean between Florida and Bahama Island.
GV observation ship
LV helicopter approaches ship
SV copter TILT TO crew on bow of ship
SV sailor throws depth charge into water
SV officers look out through binoculars
LV marker buoy
SV line thrown at buoy and instruments hauled on deck (3 shots)
STV testing apparatus hauled on deck
SV engineer taking test sample
SV crew members look on
SV man lowers bottle into water
GV ship and horizon
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Background: American technicians examined sea samples and bits of refuse on Wednesday (19 August) following the scuttling of the ship carrying sixty tons of obsolete but deadly nerve gas in the Atlantic Ocean between Florida and Bahama Island. Pentagon officials said the tests apparently indicated no widespread contamination.
The World War Two Liberty ship, "Le Baron Russell Briggs", was scuttled the day before with coffins containing 12,540 gas-bearing rockets aboard.
Water samples in bottles which had been attached to the hull bottom, 16,000 feet (5,000 metres) down. Technicians examined the water samples for possible contamination, and further tests are to be made when the samples are taken ashore.
Sonar sounding, made with the aid of depth charges dropped from the observation ship, had pinpointed the hulk following partial failures of the sound devices aboard the scuttled ship. A Pentagon official denied reports that further tests would not be possible because the Navy could no longer precisely locate the hulk.
The official added that a team of investigators would return to the area later this year for further testing.
During the month-long public battle which preceded the dumping, on impact but reports from the scene said there were no explosions when the ship hit the ocean floor at 25 miles (40 kms) an hour.
It was the last dumping at sea by the United States. Under a new process expected to go into operation later this year, consignments of obsolete gas will be detoxified on land.