Travelling exhibition on the dangers of munitions on the seabed launches in Bremerhaven
What dangers do sunken wrecks and munitions at the bottom of the North Sea pose to humans and the sea? The EU-funded, international project „North Sea Wrecks“ under the direction of the German Maritime Museum (DSM) / Leibniz Institute for Maritime History in Bremerhaven is investigating this question. The first results are now being presented in a mobile touring exhibition that can be seen in front of the museum from 11 August 2021.
What dangers are posed by weapons of war lying in old wrecks on the seabed of the North Sea? Interested parties will get the first answers to this question from 11 to 15 August: the travelling exhibition „Toxic Legacies of War – North Sea Wrecks“ of the international and interdisciplinary research project North Sea Wrecks (NSW), which has been running since 2018, will open in front of the DSM in Bremerhaven. Most recently, it attracted a lot of attention in April when participants set off on a research expedition with the HEINCKE. West of Helgoland, they took samples from the wreck of the SMS MAINZ, which sank there during the First World War.
The SMS MAINZ is just one of many wrecks that still contain war material, weapons and toxic ammunition residues that could end up in the marine environment. In the German part of the North Sea alone, it is estimated that there are around 1.3 million tonnes of ammunition from which hazardous pollutants can escape through corrosion. In the pop-up exhibition, the problem of dumped munitions, war wrecks and the resulting environmental pollution in the North Sea is presented to the public and dealt with scientifically, politically as well as historically in the supporting programme.
Interested people of all generations will get a 360-degree insight into the project. Multimedia stations, which function contactlessly thanks to an optical hand tracking module conforming to corona, offer a playful approach to the topic. Guests dive to the wreck themselves in a knowledge game, explore the remains and experience the living world under water. In another application, sediment, water and scratch samples can be taken virtually in the role of researchers. Additional information steles offer further results and findings on the topic of munitions and wrecks and the associated dangers for people, fish and the environment. Furthermore, in-depth information can be accessed via QR codes on the exhibition’s website using mobile devices.
After the launch in the city by the sea, the mobile show will tour Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway and Belgium until September 2022. Stops are planned at festivals and events that focus on marine research and marine conservation.
North Sea Wrecks is a European, interdisciplinary project with a budget of four million euros, funded by the EU through the Interreg programme. Nine project partners from five countries are involved. The partners involved are: Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (Germany); Vlaams Instituut voor de Zee (Belgium); Aarhus University – Department of Geoscience (Denmark); Stichting NHL Stenden Hogeschool – Maritiem Instituut Willem Barentsz (Netherlands); EGEOS GmbH (Germany); Periplus Consultancy BV (The Netherlands); Forsvarets Forskningsinstitutt (Norway) and the University Medical Centre Schleswig-Holstein – Institute for Toxicology and Pharmacology (Germany).
Dr. Sven Bergmann