Cost of raising toxic sub in key fishing area doubles –

Cost of raising toxic sub in key fishing area doubles Published:  22 December, 2009

HMS Venturer

CONTROVERSY is growing in Norway over a sunken wartime German U-boat whose toxic  contents threatenes a key fishing region.

The cost of raising the wreck of the  U-864 which contains 65 tons of mercury, is now estimated to cost between 1.2 and 2.2 billion Norwegian kroners , twice as much as estimated earlier.The wreck, which is located off the Norwegian west coast, near Fedje, north of Bergen – and close to an area fished by Scottish and other EU vessels – , has long been considered an environmental hazard by the local fishermen and environmental groups.

Experts had long disagreed on whether or not the wreck should be raised or if it would be better to build a sarcophagus which would isolate the mercury from the marine environment, thereby eliminating the pollution hazard.

But just under a year ago  the Oslo Government decided that the wreck should be raised, and a Dutch salvage company won a bid to raise the wreck at a cost of NOK 800 million. Helga Pedersen, the fisheries minister at the time, said she was aware of the concern by the local fishing commnity about contamination.

The new report, by the Dovre Group and the Norwegian Transport Institute of is critical of the Dutch estimate, a. It says a new invitation for tenders for the raising of the subamrine should be sent out.

The U-864 was launched in 1943 and sunk by the Royal Navy sub HMS Venturer in what is thought to be the only encounter of one submarine sinking another while actually submerged. All 73 men on board perished.