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Navy confirms underwater voices in San Juans
02:12 PM PDT on Thursday, April 9, 2009
By GARY CHITTIM / KING 5 News
STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA, Wash. – The U.S. Navy has confirmed an unofficial report swimming through the region's expansive whale protection community.
A Navy Spokesperson says a submarine, The USS San Francisco, was conducting underwater exercises in the Strait of Juan De Fuca Tuesday evening.
Several underwater listening devices operated by area whale groups picked up what they described as very loud sonar pings, as well as what sounded like human voices.
The Navy spokesperson explained the voices were probably those of Navy personnel communicating between the submerged sub and a ship on the surface.
Whale protection groups say the noises are capable of causing harm to killer whales and other marine creatures.
"The old saying, 'Run silent, run deep', apparently doesn't apply in this situation," said Fred Felleman, a consultant for the group, Friends of the Earth.
He said the Navy seems capable of producing some of the loudest noises in the world which he says, "is of great concern for our endangered orcas."
The Navy spokesperson reportedly responded to those concerns by saying the Navy undertakes precautions to protect marine mammals.