Oil from shipwrecks in the State of Chuuk "a ticking environmental time bomb" according to President Mori
Palikir, Pohnpei (FSM Information Services): September 30, 2011 - In his address to the 66th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), President Manny Mori outlined the priority issues for his nation and the Pacific Small Island Developing States (PSIDS).
The President drew particular attention to an issue of paramount concern to the State of Chuuk, pointing to the sixty or more World War II shipwrecks resting at the bottom of Chuuk lagoon with an estimated thirty two million liters of oil still contained in the wrecks. President Mori refers to the wrecks with their oil cargo as a "ticking environmental time bomb" that threatens the lives of the people, the lagoon environment and its marine eco-system. President Mori expressed concern that some of the wrecks had already started leaking and a collapse of the corroding wrecks could create a spill on a massive scale comparable to the oil spill disaster in 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico.
President Mori said that an oil spill disaster also posed a threat to the lives of the inhabitants of the islands in the Chuuk Lagoon who depend on the surrounding reefs for their livelihoods.
The Chuuk State tourism industry thrives on coral and wreck diving and any major environmental disaster from an oil spill will have a devastating effect on the Chuuk economy.
The President issued an appeal for the immediate support of the international community to address the potential environmental disaster.
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