HELCOM actions on dumped chemical munitions

Following intensive media coverage at the beginning of the 1990s on the occurrence of dumped chemical munitions in unknown locations within the Helsinki Convention area, the 14th meeting of the Helsinki Commission in 1993 decided to establish the ad hoc Working Group on Dumped Chemical Munitions (HELCOM CHEMU). Its task was to elaborate a report on the dumping locations and effects of chemical weapons in the marine environment.

Based on national reports concerning dumped chemical munitions in the Baltic Sea area, the HELCOM CHEMU Group, led by Denmark, prepared a Report on Chemical Munitions Dumped in the Baltic Sea. The report was submitted to the 15th meeting of the Helsinki Convention, which welcomed the report by HELCOM CHEMU and mandated the ad hoc working group to continue for one more year with the task to follow and coordinate the implementation of the recommendations given in its report.

The Final Report of the ad hoc Working Group on Dumped Chemical Munitions, which contained some additional information compared to the 1994 report , was submitted to the 16th Meeting of the Helsinki Commission in 1995.

Since the finalization of the HELCOM CHEMU report in 1995, Denmark, as HELCOM Lead Party in the field of dumped chemical munitions, compiled information submitted annually by the HELCOM countries on the number of incidents where fishermen have netted sea-dumped chemical munitions.

The Helsinki Commission decided at its 2010 Ministerial Meeting in Moscow to establish an ad hoc HELCOM Expert Group to update and review the existing information on dumped chemical munitions in the Baltic Sea (HELCOM MUNI).

The HELCOM MUNI report on Chemical Munitions Dumped in the Baltic Sea was submitted to the 2013 HELCOM Ministerial Meeting in Copenhagen as background information.

The 43rd Meeting of the HELCOM Heads of Delegation agreed on the establishment of the HELCOM expert group on environmental risks of hazardous submerged objects (HELCOM SUBMERGED). The terms of reference of this group include also sea dumped chemical munitions.