Monday, October 28, 2013


A war risk
Never considered

An article hededcq WWII-Era Chemical Agents In Sea Drifting Close to Poland on my daily Global Security Newswire email from Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI) presents a risk I never consciously considered.

According to the Oct. 28, 2013 article, Chemical-warfare materials dumped in the ocean after World War II have been discovered by scientists drifting closer to Polish territory than was previously known, United Press International reported on Monday.

A minimum of 15,000 metric tons of German chemical armaments were demilitarized by Russian and U.K. forces by being poured into the Gotland Deep -- an 800-foot-deep Baltic Sea basin positioned between the Baltic states and Sweden. The dumped chemical agents included mustard blister agent and tabun nerve agent.

Researchers believe the moldering chemical agent still represents a danger to the surrounding marine life as well as to nearby fishermen and beach-goers that might come across washed-up munitions.

Obviously, the Russian and U.K. forces that "poured (the chemicals into the Gotland Deep" either failed to consider the potential risks or simply didn't care; the waters into which the chemicals were dumped were near neither Britain nor Russia.

Remnants of war should have been considered, although I confess that such "souvenirs" never crossed this scrivener's mind. Land mines left over from wars past still claim lives; likewise unexploded shells are commonly found in Europe when holes are dug for new construction foundations.

The greatest "water" risks in my area are sharks and pollution. Both can incapacitate personnel and that can disrupt business as usual. Unexploded ordinance can be found in most countries that have gone to war or that have practiced going to war. At least we are alerted to migrating sharks and dangerously high pollution levels before venturing into the water.

Watching the news - history in the making - must be considered an integral part of "keeping current" for every risk management practitioner. It is an extension of group dynamics when the practitioner gathers everyone together to - with apologies to Intel - "imagine the possibilities."

No one person can think of everything, but practitioners can expand the risks lists by reading a variety of publications, both general and professional, by gathering client personnel for no-holds-barred sessions where no risk is too off the wall, and by communicating with other practitioners, but the latter must be a two way exchange.

What is DONE about individual risks is a matter of prioritization and management decision; but all risks, no matter how "off the wall" they may seem, deserve consideration.


If I wrote it, you may quote it.

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