The Second World War vessel "Le Baron Russell", with its cargo of deadly nerve gas unwanted by the United States, began the four-hour process of being scuttled on Tuesday (August 18).
AIR V..Ship at sinking point
AIR V..Ship with tugs
AIR V..Destroyer "USS HARTLEY"
AIR V..Crew of three men leave in tug with rabbits (2 shots)
AIR V..Closer shot as ship starts to sink
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Background: The Second World War vessel "Le Baron Russell", with its cargo of deadly nerve gas unwanted by the United States, began the four-hour process of being scuttled on Tuesday (August 18).
It now lies with its sixty tons of cargo at the bottom of the Atlantic 165 miles (kilometres) north of the Bahama Islands.
The Pentagon hopes that the final sea-dumping will only cause limited contamination.
During the month-long public battle which preceded the scuttling, the U.S. army has consistently argued that this was the safe way of disposing of the 418 concrete coffins containing the gas.
First reports from the dumping site 280 miles off Cape Kennedy showed no signs of the gas spewing out when it hit the bottom, as conservationists feared.
This 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 de-toxified on land.
During congressional and court hearings before the dumping, army experts said the gas might kill organisms in the immediate vicinity, but that any contamination would be limited.
They pointed out that more than 1,700 similar containers were dumped at 700 feet (2,100 metres) deep off New Jersey in 1967 and 1968, and no sign of contamination had been discovered in the area since then.
The dumping two years ago was carried out in public ignorance, but since then, the question of pollution has become major public concern. A 1969 law required the Pentagon to reveal any schemes which might cause biological contamination.