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Navy, EMO detonate WWII ordnance

FOUR-HUNDRED and fifty-four pieces of World War II ordnance were detonated Friday on Tinian by the U.S. Navy Explosives and Ordnance Disposal Team from Guam in coordination with the CNMI Emergency Management Office.
The detonation took place at around 1:25 p.m. on May 3 at Tinian’s Pina Quarry Pit.
Anthony Tenorio, EMO response and recovery coordinator, said 14 additional bombs had been found a few days before the scheduled detonation of 440 unexploded ordnance.
Tenorio, who was on Tinian for the operations, said the additional bombs were located at Masalok Beach on Tuesday.
Among those detonated were 25 pieces of 500-lb. bombs, one 100-lb. bomb, 23 pieces of 75- to 155-mm. projectiles, three rocket launchers, 300 fuses, one grenade and one mortar.
Mark Pangelinan, EMO deputy director, said the Navy experts and the EMO personnel started the setup at around 10 a.m. on Friday.
“We were able to successfully detonate all the 454 bombs in just one day, although we scheduled the activity for two days,” said Pangelinan.
He said a similar detonation will also be held on Saipan, pending the issuance of permits by local regulatory agencies like the Coastal Resources Management, the Division of Environmental Quality, the Historic Preservation Office and the Division of Fish and Wildlife.
The Navy conducted the open burning of bombs after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency granted a 90-day emergency permit for the detonation of unexploded World War II munitions in the CNMI.
“We are trying to get the permits from the local agencies because the EPA permit is good for only 90 days or until July. We will be sending a reminder to these agencies,” said Pangelinan.
There are over 800 pieces of unexploded ordnance currently stockpiled on Saipan, he said.
“This number may go up until the actual detonation because we continue to locate more,” Pangelinan added.