Tuesday, November 9, 2010

What's Down There?

Dredging continues off the south end of Halterm as shipping passes by. The K-Line container ship Glen Canyon Bridge arrives as Maersk Pembroke readies to leave at noon-time today. The tanker Algonova lies at anchor in the background before moving in to the Imperial Oil refinery.

The dredge Canadian Argosy shifted to a toothed bucket for dredging today, indicating that the top layer of mud has been cleared, and that they are now into rock. However, it was reported to me late in the afternoon, that they had identified possible unexploded ordnance in their digging and that the military had been called in to deal with it.

Perhaps nothing that comes up from the bottom of Halifax Harbour should come as a surprise in view of the port's military history, and numerous wrecks. In this area in particular, the rock breakwater which forms the south side of the Halterm container terminal once defined a basin, used by the navy and called the Seaward Defence complex. That basin is now covered by Halterm, but at one time it housed a variety of naval vessels, including minesweepers and the vessels that tended the harbour gates.

As to ordinance, some of these vessels were certainly armed and may have lost material overboard. There were also buoys, towed "fish" and other gear that looked like bombs, torpedoes or mines, but were in fact harmless. However the lay person cannot know this, and anything warlike dredged up must be treated as if it is explosive.

It is likely that a thorough scan of the bottom will be required before dredging resumes.


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