[QODLink]
Asia-Pacific

Outrage over US bomb drop on Barrier Reef

Two US fighter jets dropped unarmed bombs off of Australia's coast during a war games training exercise that went wrong.

Last Modified: 21 Jul 2013 16:41
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
The Great Barrier Reef is the world's largest coral reef system [EPA]

Australians and environmentalists have reacted furiously to the news that two US fighter jets dropped four unarmed bombs on the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park during war games.

The two Harrier jets launched from aircraft carrier USS Bonhomme Richard each jettisoned an inert bomb and an unarmed explosive bomb in the World Heritage-listed marine park on Tuesday when a training exercise went wrong, the US 7th Fleet said in a statement on Saturday.

Have we gone completely mad? Is this how we look after our World Heritage area now? Letting a foreign power drop bombs on it?"

Larissa Waters, Australian Senator

Australian Senator, Larissa Waters, the Greens party's spokeswoman on the Great Barrier Reef, described the dumping of bombs in such an environmentally sensitive area as outrageous and said it should not be allowed.

"Have we gone completely mad?" she told Australian Broadcasting Corp. "Is this how we look after our World Heritage area now? Letting a foreign power drop bombs on it?".

None of the bombs exploded when they were dropped into more than 50 metres of water. They were dropped away from the coral reef to minimise damage, the statement said.

The pilots conducted the emergency jettison of the bombs, weighing a total of 1.8 metric tonnes, because they were low on fuel and could not land with their bomb load, the US Navy said.

The emergency happened on the second day of the biennial joint training exercise Talisman Saber, which brings together 28,000 US and Australian military personnel over three weeks.

Graeme Dunstan, who is among the environmentalists and anti-war activists demonstrating against the joint exercises, said the mishap proved that the US military could not be trusted to protect the environment.

"How can they protect the environment and bomb the reef at the same time? Get real," Dunstan said.

319

Source:
Agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
Take an immersive look at the challenges facing the war-torn country as US troops begin their withdrawal.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Featured
Anti-government secrecy organisation struggling for relevance without Julian Assange at the helm.
After decades of overfishing, Japan is taking aim at increasing the number of bluefin tuna in the ocean.
Chinese scientists are designing a particle-smashing collider so massive it could encircle a city.
Critics say the government is going full-steam ahead on economic recovery at the expense of human rights.
Spirits are high in Scotland's 'Whisky Capital of the World' with one distillery thirsty for independence.
join our mailing list