FAIL: US drops unarmed bombs on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef marine park

U.S. Marine Corps AV-8B Harrier II jets participate in the "Eager Lion" military exercises at Al Quweira near Aqaba city, 290 km (180 miles) south of Amman, June 19, 2013.(Reuters / Muhammad Hamed)RT News

Two US fighter jets have dropped four unarmed bombs in Australia’s World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef marine park after a training exercise went wrong.

The AV-8B Harrier jets took off from the aircraft carrier USS Bonhomme Richard and each released an inert bomb and an unarmed explosive bomb off the coast of Queensland, the US 7th Fleet said in a statement on Saturday.  

The four bombs, weighing a total 1.8 metric tons (4,000 pounds), were dropped in more than 50 meters (164 feet) of water away from coral that was supposed to have minimized possible damage to the reef, the statement said. Each Harrier jet dropped two 227-kilo bombs: one BDU 45 and one High Explosive GBU 12. None of the bombs exploded as the BDU 45s are inert and the GBU 12s were unarmed when released.

The training mission went gone wrong as the jets from the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit were originally told to drop the bombs at the Townshend Island bombing range. That plan was aborted after the controllers said the area was not clear of hazards.

The pilots then went ahead with an emergency jettison as they were not allowed to land with bombs on board and both were low on fuel, the navy said.

The US Navy and Australian authorities are now investigating the incident.


Coral on Australia's Great Barrier Reef.(Reuters)Coral on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.(Reuters)


The US Navy is planning to recover the bombs that are lying about 100 kilometres offshore and about 16 nautical miles south of Bell Cay in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. The US say that the chance of the  bombs exploding was extremely remote.

‘Due to low fuel and the inability to land with the amount of ordnance they were carrying, the on-scene commander determined it was necessary to designate an emergency jettison area for the ordnance,” US Navy spokesman Commander William Marks said.

He said each bomb was jettisoned in a ”safe, unarmed state and did not explode”.

The Australian Defense Force said the bombs posed ”minimal risk or threat to the public, the marine environment or civilian shipping passing the reef area”, according to AP.

”The incident is being investigated by the US and findings will be provided to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority so that the way ahead can be mutually agreed,” a spokesman said.

Senator for Australian Greens Party Larissa Waters has called the dumping of bombs on the World’s Heritage-listed site “outrageous”.

“We’re letting the US military drop bombs on the World Heritage Great Barrier Reef. I mean, have we gone completely mad? Is this how we look after our World Heritage areas now? Letting a foreign power drop bombs on it?”

The failed training mission happened on the second day of the biennial joint training exercise Talisman Saber that brings together 28,000 US and Australian military personnel over three weeks.

Environmentalists and anti-war activists Graeme Dunstan, who is against the joint exercise, said that the incident proves the US cannot be trusted to protect the environment.

“How can they protect the environment and bomb the reef at the same time? Get real,” Dunstan told AP.

The Great Barrier Reef is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is the world’s largest coral reef system, made up of over 2,900 individual reefs and 900 islands, stretching for more than 2,600 kilometers (1,600 miles) along the Australian northeast coast.

8 thoughts on “FAIL: US drops unarmed bombs on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef marine park

  1. Read MASS MURDER for details about what the US & UK have done in their puppet-state AU. free pdf MURDER.RESEARCH @

  2. According to this similar article at, Australia’s World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef marine park belongs to the United Nations organization, UNESCO.

    With that understanding, my comment was:

    “Who thinks this stuff up? I’d say the likelihood of this actually being true is remote — or at least, deliberate.

    Doesn’t this sound like a fictitious story to stir up emotions about the UN (UNESCO world heritage site) taking ‘ownership’ of cherished landmarks associated with national pride and sovereignty?

    Australia, are you down with this, no pun intended?

    What monument or landmark in your State will no longer fly the the National Flag? Grand Canyon (US), Niagara Falls (Canada/US), Ayers Rock, AU, Machu Picchu, Peru, The Great Pyramids, Egypt?”

    1. Not sure what you are getting at. Are you saying that the exercise is fictitious or are you saying the incident is fictitious? I know the exercise is real because I participated in 2009. It is not out of the realm of possibility for the military to f#@k up. In fact they do it all the time, especially during training exercises because that is why they are conducted.

  3. Once again our tax dollars hard at work, F`n up as usual. Who is going to be held responsible for this one with more than just being scolded like a first grader. No wonder we have lost so many wars since wwII if we even have won even one war – well I better just say that there is nor ever was a winner of wars. I hate to say it but this is just another example of being incompetant.

      1. Aw man #1, yes you really are right, but the banksters never actualy fight the war, they are just involved with instigating the wars. Wouldn`t it be great to see those like Netanyahoo, Obama, and that british guy full of bullet wounds or maybe with some missing limbs to actually have to pay the price like the people have to that actually do the fighting.

  4. we watched as your county done sweet f^&* all when the gulf oil disaster happened. Now you come and try to f%^& our coastline as well. The worst thing about it is our government will let them get away with it, whilst claiming being a leader in protecting the environment we live in.

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