Segments in this Video

Bay of Gdansk Shipwrecks (08:36)


A team of experts aboard the research vessel IMOR arrives at the site of a sunken vessel two meters off the coast. Allied bombers sink the German hospital ship in October 1943. Seabed samples reveal large quantities of oil.

World War II Shipwrecks (05:28)

In September 1939, the SMS Schleswig-Holstein fires on Polish positions, starting a six year naval battle that results in 6,338 sunken ships. Dagmar Schmidt Elkin estimates the wrecks could contain up to 15 million tons of oil; the Exxon Valdez spilled 37,000 tons.

Wrecks in U.S. Waters (07:36)

Experts have known about Elkin's study for over 12 years but nothing has been done and some ships are leaking oil. NOAA researches hunt for ships, examine their condition, and rank them in order of risk. The team focuses on the SS Coast Trader.

NOAA Satellite and Information Center (04:26)

Experts analyze data in real time, develop climate models, and monitor ocean surfaces; oil slicks from the Coimbra are common. Oil salvaging is possible but expensive.

Environmental Pollution (04:55)

Benedykt Hac pushes Polish authorities to address environmental damage from the SMS Stuttgart. Chemists analyze seabed samples and find alarming results. Fishermen confirm an intense oil smell and oily catches near the wreck site.

Wrecks in Norwegian Waters (06:15)

Coastal authorities monitor shipwrecks; diesel from a WWII German ship rises to the surface. Of the 900 ships sunk in the area, 29 are classified as extremely dangerous. Experts examine the Oslofjord and the Blücher wreck site.

Environmental Protection (05:39)

Norway is the only country investing in protecting its coast from oil spills; authorities order the pumping of seven more shipwrecks. Analysis of the Erich Giese's fuel worries scientists.

Polluted Ecosystem (03:04)

Chemical analysis of the SMS Stuttgart's oil is similar to that of the Erich Giese. Approximately 850-1,000 tons pollute the seabed and the rate of spread is increasing. Hac discusses containing the pollution.

Shipwreck Liability (04:35)

Maritime law expert Prof. Henning Jessen discusses the issue of who is responsible for environmental damage from WWII shipwrecks. The Bay of Gdansk has over 30 wrecks; Hac worries about the Franken. Experts reflect on addressing oil pollution.

Credits: The Black Tears of the Sea (05:58)

Credits: The Black Tears of the Sea

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The Black Tears of the Sea

DVD (Chaptered) Price: $169.95
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $254.93
3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



This documentary offers a scary portrait of what lurks in the depths of our oceans. Over 6,000 ships sunk during World War II lie rusting on the ocean floor for the last 70 years, their tanks full of crude oil. This represents an oil spill over 400 times greater than the Exxon Valdez spill of 1989. Following oceanographers, coastguards, and salvage experts, the film documents the work of scientists to assess the extent of the damage already done by seeping oil, as well as their work to monitor the most hazardous wrecks.

Length: 58 minutes

Item#: BVL212804

ISBN: 978-1-64867-996-4

Copyright date: ©2017

Closed Captioned

Performance Rights

Prices include public performance rights.

Not available to Home Video and Publisher customers.

Only available in USA and Canada.