Two sailors are responsible for the stinky disks of trash that have been washing ashore mysteriously on Outer Banks beaches for several months, U.S. Navy officials say.
The tightly compressed disks, 20 inches in diameter, were tossed from the USS Whidbey Island, a dock landing ship based in Virginia Beach, the Virginian-Pilot of Norfolk reports. The disks of plastic and other waste are compressed by a machine and packed in odor-barrier bags for storage in a trash room while the ship is at sea.
The sailors admitted to disposing the disks improperly, said Navy spokesman Ted Brown. The ship originated from Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek.
It is estimated that 45 to 60 disks were tossed overboard, television station WAVY reports.
Kill Devil Hills resident Heather Cremia told WAVY in May that she saw the first disk in April and has collected 17 of them.
The trash stank like a dumpster, and one was leaking “garbage juice,” she told the Virginian-Pilot. One had Navy correspondence bearing a logo that was clearly visible and read “Commander Naval Surface Force.”
“I want answers. I want to know why this happened, how they got away with it and how long this has been going on, and I want it to end,” Cremia told a WAVY reporter.
A cache of 26 disks was discovered on a beach north of Corolla. The find was reported to the Navy, which came to collect the disks.
Disposing trash by tossing refuse in the ocean violates Navy regulations, Brown said.