The SS Richard Montgomery sank in 1944 and has 1,400 tonnes of explosives on board. Image: Margaret Flo McEwan/Fb

The Royal Navy has been named in to aid cut the masts from a sunken cargo ship in the River Thames, soon after the most current survey discovered decay could induce a fatal explosion of 1,400 tonnes of explosives on board. 

The SS Richard Montgomery was an American Liberty ship, which ran aground on the Nore sandbank in the Thames Estuary in August 1944, during Entire world War II. Irrespective of attempts to clear away its hazardous cargo, the ship’s hull cracked and it sank off Medway, in Kent.

SS Richard Montgomery underway in 1944

The Maritime and Coastguard Company, which displays the condition of the wreck and carries out common surveys, experienced beforehand regarded as the possibility of an explosion as remote. 

But the newest study uncovered the ship’s 3 masts had been deteriorating and in a bad point out. Studies have identified cracks in the vessel’s hull are increasing, prompting fears that even more decay to the wreck could cause an explosion that would “throw a 300 metre-vast column of water and particles virtually 3,000 metres into the air and create a wave 5 metres high”, in accordance to a new report by the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

Sonar picture of the wreck

An explosion of all 1,400 tonnes of explosives on the SS Richard Montgomery could trigger “mass destruction and decline of life”, as very well as producing destruction to close by oil and fuel services in Sheerness, in accordance to the MoD. 

Navy professionals properly trained in underwater demolitions have been known as in to recommend authorities sub-contractor Briggs Maritime on safety as it dismantles the masts in a two-month procedure. at?v=cLNTDlNzvKA

The wreck has a circle of buoys all-around it, marking a 500-metre exclusion zone. The wreck is also underneath 24-hour radar surveillance by Medway Ports. Warning signs are connected to every single of the a few masts reading “Danger unexploded ammunition. Do not solution or board this wreck”.  

In a statement, the Maritime and Coastguard Company claimed: “Ongoing checking and assessment of the SS Richard Montgomery has determined that the masts may be placing undue strain on the relaxation of the vessel construction. 

Remaining: A team of divers conducting a survey in 1981 pose with the warning indicators on the masts of SS Richard Montgomery.

“In mild of this, the determination has been designed to search for to minimize the top of the masts in order to retain the integrity of the hull and minimise the probability of structural collapse of the vessel. 

“This is component of the ongoing approach to make certain that the threats posed by the vessel are suitably monitored, assessed and managed.”

The agreement for the job is worthy of £5m, according to the BBC. The masts are set to be eradicated by June 2022.

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