Friday, March 13, 2009

Mercury fascination.

I think that most of us have been fascinated by mercury at sometime in our lives, probably in one of those lively chemistry lessons at school, when a slight spillage has resulted in a myriad of silver globules scattering over the bench and onto the floor. Hopefully today a little more care is taken with this highly toxic liquid metal, and its harmful affects are more widely appreciated.
It was only this week that I heard about the intriguing tale of German sub U-864. On the 8th February 1945, in the closing stages of World War II, the submarine was on a mission to Japan, when it was intercepted by a British submarine called HMS Venturer. U-864 became the only submarine to be sunk by another submarine while under water. Although the incident cost the lives of the 73 luckless men on board, it also had the affect of releasing an ecological time bomb. This consisted of 1,800 canisters of mercury, which equated to 65 tons, and was destined for the Japanese munitions industry.
The incident which occurred 64 years ago, 3.6 km west of the island of Fedje in the North Sea, is far from over, as the canisters slowly corrode and release increasing amounts into the North Sea. There have been many proposed schemes over the years to deal with the problem, including the one two years ago to entomb the submarine in an sarcophagus, which was a method previously employed on other underwater hazards. It was felt however that this was only postponing the problem, rather than effectively dealing with the situation.

Lets hope the saga will finally come to an end next year, when a proposed £100 million operation, that has finally been authorised by the Norwegian fisheries minister Helga Pedersen, finally comes to fruition. The wreck will be raised with a large container underneath it that will catch loose mercury, and will be brought ashore in a special vessel.

8 comments:

Middle Ditch said...

Wow! I didn't know! Horrendous. Let's hope that they succeed.

school for the girls said...

Thanks for th wonderful information David.

I am so glad for keeping an eye on my blog even though I could not reciprocate but right now I am able to do so.

Hope you are well have a blessed evening
Rebecca

school for the girls said...

Hi David,
Are you doing well?
I have missed you new post.
I changed our profile picture

Kelli said...

Hello David, just stopping by as I haven't seen you in a while. I hope you and your family are well.

Anonymous said...

The incident which occurred 64 years ago, 3.6 km west of the island of Fedje in the North Sea, is far from over, as the canisters slowly corrode and release increasing amounts into the North Sea. There have been many proposed schemes over the years to deal with the problem, including the one two years ago to entomb the submarine in an sarcophagus, which was a method previously employed on other underwater hazards. It was felt however that this was only postponing the problem, rather than effectively dealing with the situation.

Anonymous said...

teering last Saturday, I had the pleasure of taking two of my favourite children to the Potting Shed . What a fantastic place to spend a few hours! The staff there are so friendly and helpful, they made an enjoyable experience into a memorable one!
If you are ever stuck for something to do with your children and you live on the Wirral, give it a go and you won't regret it.

You select a piece of pottery, prices start at £7.50, and spend as much time as you like decorating it. You then leave your pot at the Potting Shed, where it is glazed and fired in the Kiln. You can then collect it the following week.

There is even a great little coffee shop, with cakes and other goodies to tempt both you and the kids, and all quite reasonably priced too!

I think it would also be a great idea for a kids party, there was one going on while we were there. A bit different than the usual bouncy castle or visit to Macdonalds!

I have now collected our pots and they look great, can't wait to give them to the children on Saturday!
Posted by David John Caswell at 10:19 PM 4 comments Links to this post
Labels: bit of fun, volunteering
Monday, November 3, 2008
Battery hen torment.
Battery hens are to be banned in the EU from January 2012. An estimated 24 million egg laying chickens are kept in battery cages in the UK at any one time, which produce 72% of the countries supplies.


Why is legislation required to prevent a practise that gives each chicken only 450 square centimetres of floor area, equivalent to no more than an A4 sheet of paper. Are we that cruel that we condone such treatment?
I am afraid I am as guilty as many. It is so easy to push these things to the back of your mind when face with rising supermarket prices.
I think the majority of us need protecting from our own greed and selfishness. There is a danger however, that it will only drive this industry outside the EU, unless there is a ban on import of battery eggs!
Posted by David John Caswell at 9:31 PM 6 comments Links to this post
Labels: in the news, interesting facts
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Kelli said...

David, I haven't seen you around for a very long time. I do hope that all is well. Please let us know if you can. God bless.

KB said...

Ditto to what Kelli said. Hope everything is OK.