The Norwegian Authorities have classified 30 WWII shipwrecks to have a considerable potential for pollution to the environment, based on the location and condition of the wreck and the types and amount of fuel. Oil thus far has been removed from eight of these shipwrecks. The water accommodated fractions of oils from two British wrecks and two German wrecks have been studied with special emphasis on chemistry and biological effects (algae growth (Skeletonema costatum) and copepod mortality (Calanus finmarchicus)). Chemical analyses were also performed on three additional German wreck oils. The results from these studies show that the coal based oils from German WWII shipwrecks have higher toxicity to marine organisms than the mineral oils from the British shipwrecks. The potential for higher impact on the marine environment of coal based oils has resulted in an altering of the priority list for oil recovery from WWII wrecks by the authorities.