Subject: Digongs &QLD: Joint military operation (fwd)

Michael Williamson (pita@whale.simmons.edu)
Wed, 12 Feb 1997 12:09:08 -0500 (EST)

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Date: Tue, 11 Feb 1997 12:51:00 GMT
From: r.mallon1@genie.com
Reply-To: Marine Mammals Research and Conservation Discussion
     <MARMAM@UVVM.BITNET>
To: Multiple recipients of list MARMAM <MARMAM@UVVM.BITNET>
Subject: QLD: Joint military operation

QLD: Joint military operation questioned

   BRISBANE, Feb 11 AAP - Conservationists have questioned the need
for the joint US-Australian military operation Tandem Thrust to be
held off the north Queensland coast following the revelation today
smoke grenades were lost overboard from a US supply ship.
Queensland Conservation Council coordinator Imogen Zethoven said
the council was opposed to the exercise being held in the Great
Barrier Reef Marine Park area.
"It should not be happening in the Shoalwater Bay area now," she
said.
"Dugongs are already under threat in the area and with 17,000 US
troops and 5,000 Australian troops moving into the area as well as
a nuclear-powered submarine, the threat to the environment is
tremendous."
   In Federal Parliament today, Environment Minister Senator Robert
Hill revealed 50 smoke grenades had been lost overboard from a US
ship preparing to take part in the exercise.
   Australian navy divers had been able to recover only two of the
grenades.
   Ms Zethoven, who will take part in a protest in Brisbane
tomorrow to have gill netting banned from all dugong habitat areas,
said Australians should be demanding answers about why their tax
dollars were being spent on the exercise.
   "Tens of millions of dollars are being spent on this operation,"
she said.
   "Why are we doing it? Who are our enemies that we have to have
this sort of operation?"
   Queensland Commercial Fishermen's Organisation president Ted
Loveday said the grenades could be a problem if they were in an
area used by trawlers.
   "We would hope that the navy would contact the local fishermen
and advise them."
   Mr Loveday said that following World War II, a lot of ammunition
had been dumped at sea off the Queensland coast.
   "Throughout the years we've trawled up bombs and things but the
fishermen are usually very careful and stay right away from them,"
he said.