17 Jun 2014

WW II explosives in Pacific still pose a threat

4:37 pm on 17 June 2014

An officer with the Australian Defence Force says it is important to educate people in the Pacific about the dangers posed by old explosives from World War Two.

A team of ADF personnel has just returned from Kiribati after disposing of a sea mine found in South Tarawa.

The object was discovered underneath a sunken vessel in Betio lagoon.

The ADF, along with New Zealand and the United States, has been conducting an ongoing operation to remove World War Two ordnance throughout the region.

Clearance diving Team Leader, Chief Petty Officer Shaun Elliott, says the bombs are a hazard and have caused deaths.

Unfortunately, through the islands the locals have found and worked out that they can try and take the explosives from these and make fish bombs out of them and it's a very effective way to catch fish. So by taking fuses off or manipulating these ordnance they're actually blowing themselves up and killing themselves.

The Australian Defence Force's Shaun Elliot.