Recent studies have shown that modern shipwrecks on Pacific atolls have the capacity to leak iron onto coral reefs—leading to bacterial outbreaks and overgrowth of algae. The shift from healthy coral reefs to "black reef" covered in slime can occur within only a few years.
Some of the most pristine coral reefs in the world are currently protected under the US Fish and Wildlife's Marine National Monument system, but such protections are meaningless if shipwrecks are left to rot on coral reefs.
The US Fish and Wildlife service must act to immediately remove such shipwrecks from threatened reefs. In addition, investigations into the owners responsible for the shipwrecks should be made, so that private companies, not US taxpayers, foot the bill for such clean-ups.