Deep Sea News

Whales Are Part of the Axis of Evil

George Bush this week declared war on sea mammals, officially adding whales to the dreaded Axis of Evil. The Bush administration stated whales are a threat to the American way of life, democracy, and of course freedom. Joking aside, Bush this week gave the official go ahead for the Navy to conduct sonar training off San Diego this week. The navy admits themselves that whales will be harmed by the exercise. This is occurring despite a recent win in the federal courts by environmental groups to restrict sonar use off the coast under the Coastal Zone Management Act. Bush simply issued an exemption for the Navy from the CZMA.

There is no doubt that mid-level sonar use will lead to whale beachings. The International Whaling Commission states the “the evidence linking sonar to a series of whale strandings in recent years is “very convincing and appears overwhelming.” The National Resource Defense Council notes

Each loudspeaker in the LFA system’s wide array, for example, can generate 215 decibels’ worth — sound as intense as that produced by a twin-engine fighter jet at takeoff. Some mid-frequency sonar systems can put out over 235 decibels, as loud as a Saturn V rocket at launch. Even 100 miles from the LFA system, sound levels can approach 160 decibels, well beyond the Navy’s own safety limits for humans. Evidence of the harm such a barrage of sound can do began to surface in March 2000, when whales of four different species stranded themselves on beaches in the Bahamas after a U.S. Navy battle group used active sonar in the area. Investigators found that the whales were bleeding internally around their brains and ears

A similar event occurred of Hawaii in 2004 and North Carolina in 2005.

Retired Admiral Stephen Pietropaoli stated

“It’s important that the Navy be able to send trained sailors to sea to protect us and our interests around the glob. They cannot do that if there are excessive, unnecessary restrictions on their ability to do realistic training at sea.”

So what actual threat is there to the U.S. from hostile submarines?

These countries currently possess submarines in active service:

Algeria, Argentina, Australia, Bangladesh, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Columbia, Croatia, Ecuador, Egypt, France, Germany, Greece, India, Indonesia, Iran, Italy, Israel, Japan, Malaysia, Netherlands, North Korea, Norway, Pakistan, China, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Serbia, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, Ukraine, U.K., and Venezuela.

The top 10 countries by numbers are: USA (73), China (63), Russia (56), North Korea (26), South Korea (26), India (16), Japan (16) United Kingdom (16), Germany (14), and Turkey (13).

With at least 3/4 of the countries the U.S. has decent and solid diplomatic relations. Of the top 10, 3 or 4 might pose a threat. The Russian submarine fleet poses no significant challenge to the U.S. Navy. Most of their submarines are of much weaker capabilities than ours currently in service. At least 50% of the fleet was built in the 1980′s and nearing the end of their operational lives. Historically, China as not been a threat with most of the fleet outdated by US standards. However, currently China is outbuilding the US 3 to 1 per year. This all according to the Center for Defense Information. In a Fox interview with former Secretary of the Navy, John Dalton, states the North Korean submarine fleet is no threat.

They are small subs, holding 10 to 20 people, are noisy, cannot sustain long distances, have to surface continually to recharge and don’t have any nuclear capability.

The other countries below the top 10 suffer from similar issues possessing a mere handful of subs outdated, noisy, and with poorly trained crews. More than likely they would be heard without the use of sonar.

Comments

  1. #1 Thomas
    January 27, 2008

    You aren’t quite right about all countries below the top 10. Sweden only has a couple of non-nuclear subs, but they are very good. USA rented one for a year to test their capacity to track conventional submarines, and it was a miserable failure on their side.
    http://www.thelocal.se/article.php?ID=3574&date=20060418

  2. #2 John Scanlon, FCD
    January 28, 2008

    So are coyotes, as evidenced by continuing use of lethal chemical landmines on federal lands despite ‘collateral damage’:

    *EPA investigates Utahn’s poisoning – 4 years after device shot cyanide in his face*
    By Patty Henetz
    The Salt Lake Tribune
    Article Last Updated: 01/18/2008 06:23:26 AM MST

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has begun an investigation into the poisoning four years ago of a Vernal man who touched what he thought was a survey stake, only to get a blast of sodium cyanide to his face and chest.

    The cyanide device, called an M-44, is used by the federal government to kill predators. The poisoning has left Dennis Slaugh with severe health problems, his wife, Dorothy Slaugh, said Thursday. And it has reignited a campaign to ban all predator poisoning on federal lands.

  3. #3 wildlifer
    January 28, 2008

    I was working on Hatteras in ’05 when we had the two pygmy sperm whale strandings. Both were euthanized after several hours of being beached.

  4. #4 ~summer~
    January 28, 2008

    Hilarious title. Thanks for the well researched on this topic.

  5. #5 FishGuyDave
    January 29, 2008

    So, even the IWC has a problem with this? Let me get this straight: an international organization whose purpose is to promote the regulation of WHALING opposes something, but the Bush Administration still backs it. Fantastic. It must be because we’ve gotta get those crazy Swedes before they get us, lest the smoking gun be a mushroom cloud of what, lutefisk?

    Sheesh… January 2009 cannot get here soon enough.

  6. #6 Mrs Hilary Victoria Minor
    January 29, 2008

    How about voting a Whale in as President of the US of A and get it to subject Mr Bush to 235 decibels from a mid-frequency sonar system?

  7. #7 Karen James
    January 29, 2008

    The use of Navy sonar is a question to be raised at ScienceDebate2008 methinks!

  8. #8 Scott Simmons
    February 4, 2008