The two Barrow-based nuclear ships Pacific Heron and Pacific Egret, armed with naval canon and carrying security crew, were located transiting the Panama Canal from the Atlantic in the early hours of this morning 6th February. On exiting the Canal, the ships are expected to reach Japan around 29th February where they are likely to load a consignment of 331 kg of plutonium from the Tokai Research Establishment. Since sailing from Barrow docks on 19th January, the ships’ voyage has been cloaked in a level of secrecy that was raised to new levels last night on their approach to the Canal when the Canal Authorities appear to have bowed to requests/orders to turn off all the webcams during the ships’ transit. The webcams normally operate 24/7 at a handful of locations. With both ships travelling unladen, this extra covert action by officialdom stands as testament to the dangers of nuclear materials transport and the unsavoury nature of global nuclear trade – as does the special dispensation afforded to the ships that allowed them to jump the queue of cargo ships that routinely forms in the anchorage outside the Canal entrance. With the two ships riding shotgun for each other and with the use of the Panama Canal ruled out by the US Department of Energy, this cargo of prime terrorist material is expected to be transported from Japan round the notoriously unpredictable Cape Horn for safeguarding at the Savannah River nuclear complex in South Carolina under the US-led Global Threat Reduction Initiative (GTRI).
CORE 6th Feb 2016 read more »
DUNFERMLINE and West Fife MP Douglas Chapman has urged the UK Government to give Holyrood advance notification when nuclear material is transported through the streets of Scotland. Currently, the Ministry of Defence does not inform the Scottish Government or local authorities of the movements.
Dunfermline Press 5th Feb 2016 read more »