Sandy May Have Uncovered An Old 500-Pound Bomb At The Guantanamo Ferry Landing

Guantanamo Ferry DockSpc. Kelly Gary, deployed to Guantanamo, jumps off the pier and into the water at the base ferry landing. Guantanamo residents practice a long-standing tradition of jumping off the pier and into the ocean sometimes in full military uniform to honour those friends and fellow service members who completed their tours on the Caribbean island.

Photo: Dvids

The U.S. military shut down a ferry landing at the Navy base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and sent for a bomb disposal team from Florida on Tuesday after Hurricane Sandy churned up a suspicious object in the bay that might be a live, 500-pound bomb.The object was discovered at 10 a.m. Tuesday, said Jose Ruiz, spokesman at the Pentagon Southern Command in Miami. “We don’t know conclusively what type of bomb it was and whether it was live or inert.”

Base officials evacuated the area around the bomb and dispatched a Navy plane to Mayport, Fla., to fetch the special bomb disposal crew, known as an Explosive Ordnance Disposal team. The experts were due at the base Tuesday night to determine if it was a live bomb.

“If it is,” Ruiz said, “they’ll neutralize it and then they’ll dispose of it.”

Guantanamo disclosed the discovery of “an object that appears to be unexploded ordnance” in a news release advising the 6,000 or so residents on the remote base in southeast Cuba of suspension of regular ferry service from the base’s Windward side across the bay.

Instead, a smaller boat was ferrying residents from a dock near the Officer’s Club, on Windward, to the Leeward side.

Base workers were still cleaning up the damage from last week’s Category 2 hurricane, notably debris and broken glass around the Pentagon’s crude Camp Justice compound that was built for the Sept. 11 and USS Cole capital murder tribunals.

The storm tore up tents and tarps around the Expeditionary Legal Complex. But it was still not known Tuesday if any water seeped inside and did damage to the state-of-the-art courtroom that beams proceedings to special viewing sites on U.S. soil.

Guantanamo’s recreational beaches were still closed Tuesday. Movies were once again being screened for troops, however, at the base’s open-air theatre — ParaNorman and Frankenweenie, respectively, on Tuesday and Wednesday nights. ___

(c)2012 The Miami Herald

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Distributed by MCT Information Services

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