After World War II, many decommissioned vessels loaded with chemical warfare agents and munitions were scuttled in a 600m deep trench off Arendal, a port on Norway's southern coast.
During a survey in 2009, the Norwegian Coastal Administration (NCA) located some twenty wrecks in the area. A recent search revealed an additional 15 wrecks, taking the total to at least 35.
Most of the wrecks stem from the post-WW2 scuttling, but there were also some that we could not associate with this campaign, said chief scientist at Norway's Defence Research Institute, Petter Lågstad.
Some of the wrecks were obviously unrelated to the scuttling because of their size and age.
Lågstad stated that some of the wrecks were broken up and destroyed so that parts of the load with chemical weapons were scattered across the seabed. Some wrecks, however, appeared whole and undamaged. "We assume in these cases that the cargo is enclosed in wrecks", said Lågstad.
The final survey of the area is to be completed by next year.