The emergency release of four bombs into the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park by the US Navy has angered some Australians,despite assurances on Monday that the unexploded ordnance posed no threat to the World Heritage-listed sites delicate ecosystem.
Two AV-8B Harrier jets launched from the aircraft carrier Bonhomme Richard were meant to drop the unarmed bombs on an island near the reef as part of a live fire exercise last week,but were forced to release them at sea to avoid damaging several unauthorized vessels that had entered the area,according to the Navy.
The incident occurred July 16 off the coast of Australias Queensland state as part of a biennial joint training exercise called Talisman Saber,which involves about 28,000 Australian and American military personnel. The decision to jettison the bombs was made with the authorization of the Australian Defense Force,a US Navy spokesman,Cmdr William Marks,said. NYT