The remains of ammunition from World War II in the North Sea do not pose any acute danger to humans. This is a result of the European research project “North Sea Wrecks” led by the German Maritime Museum in Bremerhaven, which was presented on Wednesday.

Scientists had taken samples from 15 military wrecks in the German, Danish, Dutch and Belgian North Sea. In addition, mussels and fish were examined for toxic substances. Potentially carcinogenic substances such as TNT have been found in concentrations that are harmless to humans when consumed, said project coordinator Sven Bergmann.

For mussels and fish, however, the gradual release of chemicals from corroding old ammunition meant stress. In the wreck of the cruiser “Ariadne”, which was sunk in a naval battle off Helgoland in 1914, the researchers also discovered fish with a striking number of tumors, said Edmund Maser, a toxicologist at the University of Kiel. There is a danger that biodiversity will suffer in the long term.