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Sandy uncovers suspected old bomb at Guantanamo base

By Carol Rosenberg, The Miami Herald –

MIAMI — 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. EDT 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 theater.

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