World War II shipwreck has been spewing toxic waste for 80 years, changing the ecosystem

(ORDO NEWS) — Scientists have discovered that a World War II shipwreck is still polluting the waters of the North Sea. The ship leaked explosives and other toxic elements that have been in the water for 80 years.

Scientists looked at the V-1302 John Mahn that sank in the North Sea off Belgium. Initially, this ship was a fishing ship, but during the Second World War it was converted into a combat patrol vessel. In 1942, the British Navy sank V-1302 John Mahn.

The cargo included ammunition, oil and coal, which also sank along with the boat and are now seeping into the sea.

How did the sunken ship affect marine life?

The scientists decided to find out how the pollutants on board the ship affect the environment. They took sediment samples from the ship and the seabed next to it.

The analysis showed that heavy metals such as nickel, copper and arsenic, as well as explosive compounds, hydrocarbons, coal and crude oil, entered the water from the ship.

The scientists also conducted a microbial analysis that revealed changes in the seafloor microbiome. This has been associated with microorganisms (like Rhodobacteraceae and Chromatiaceae ) that love polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. Their concentration was extremely high in the most polluted regions.

In addition, sulfate-reducing bacteria such as Desulfobulbia have taken up residence on the wreck and have caused it to corrode.

The researchers note that there are thousands of shipwrecks at the bottom of the North Sea, and many of them also carried pollutants that could affect marine life. According to the authors of the work, despite the fact that shipwrecks are a great love of historians and enthusiasts, they are also a danger to the planet.

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