UPDATE: US 7th Fleet to Lead Jettisoned Bombs Retrieval

US 7th Fleet to Lead Harrier Jettisoned Ordnance Retrieval

In coordination with the Australian Defence Force, U.S. Seventh Fleet will take the lead in the safe retrieval and disposal of four bombs which were jettisoned off the coast of Queensland, Australia by two AV-8B Harrier aircraft in an emergency situation on 16 July.

“The U.S. military is aware of its professional responsibility to mitigate the environmental impact of its exercises/operations. As partners with our Australian counterparts, and particularly in the context of Exercise Talisman Saber, the U.S. military conscientiously conforms to the proper rules and protocols set forth by Australian military and civilian authorities,”U.S. 7th Fleet Public Affairs said in a release.

In conducting the retrieval, Seventh Fleet will coordinate closely with the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and ADF to ensure the environment is protected with the greatest care.

“The U.S. military has been in close contact with ADF and GBRMPA to determine the appropriate course of action. We are fully committed to redressing any potential adverse environmental impact in a timely manner. We will announce more detailed plans for recovery operations as they are finalized,” the release further read.

The US Navy expressed willingness to assist Australia in taking out bombs, which were mistakenly dropped into the World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef Marine Park a week ago.

Press Release, July 26, 2013; Image: US Navy