Photo: Pacific World War II Wrecks Pose Risk of Toxic Leaks



Scuba divers explore the wreck of the coral-covered U.S.S. President Coolidge, a luxury cruise liner-turned-troop ship sunk by mines in 1942 as it entered the harbor of Vanuatu's Espiritu Santo Island.

Some 3,700 World War II shipwrecks lie submerged in the Pacific Ocean.

Encased in coral, host to abundant sea life, and popular among scuba-loving tourists, some of these vessels also contain oil, gasoline, chemicals, and unexploded ordnance. The Coolidge is not known to pose risks to divers.

Photograph by David Doubilet/NGS


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