Letter: Dangerous Discovery
It was with great interest that I began reading your article titled “CG Team Discovers ‘Blast From The Past’” (WJ, November 4) until the detail of events took a potentially life-threatening turn.
In the article it states that a Coast Guard Aids to Navigation team member found what appeared to be a civil war cannonball, called a colleague at Sector New Orleans and was suggested by this colleague to reach out to a local museum. The museum contact gave direction on how to “safely” transport the item to the museum. It shocks me that the Coast Guard employee who found the item, the Coast Guard employee who was contacted initially at Sector New Orleans, and the “artillery expert” museum director were all unaware of how dangerous it is to touch, transport or even be near an item like this. Regardless of the age, these potentially highly explosive items (formally classified as either a UXO or MEC) should be treated with great respect and handled only by trained and authorized professionals.
As the article mentions that the museum director plans to drill into the item and remove the black powder, before making a potential fatal mistake, I would highly urge him to secure the area the item is being stored in, and to call any local Coast Guard, Navy, or Sheriff’s office, explain what he possesses and let them handle it from there.
I hope that WJ will note in a future article the dangers associated with items like these as there is a lot of information available to educate the public on this subject. Perhaps the article will save a life or a limb.
Unfortunately, some of our waterways and oceans are littered with items like these.