Sunken warship in River Thames with explosives on board could cause ‘mass damage and loss of life’

The Royal Army has been known as in to dismantle a sunken warship in the River Thames because the contemporary review says the 1,400 tonnes of volatile explosives on board can cause “mass damage and loss of life”.

Bomb disposal mavens skilled in underwater demolitions have been tasked with making secure the SS Richard Montgomery, after the newest survey warned any further deterioration of the send may just “cause the unexploded ordnance”.

The Ministry of Defence says the nearby oil and gas facilities in Sheerness are threatened and that if the destroy exploded, “it could throw a 300m wide column of water and debris nearly THREE,000m into the air and generate a wave 5m top”.

The SS Richard Montgomery, an American Liberty ship sporting a cargo of munitions throughout the Second International Struggle, used to be wrecked at the Nore sandbank in the Thames Estuary, close to Sheerness, in August 1944.

About 1,400 tonnes of explosives remain on board. A no-entry exclusion zone extends around the spoil.

Artist's impression of the SS Richard Montgomery in Sheerness, which sunk in August 1944 Artist’s affect of the SS Richard Montgomery in Sheerness, which sunk in August 1944

Essentially The Most contemporary Division for Shipping survey discovered the send’s 3 masts are in a negative state and are deteriorating.

The MoD has warned that if one or all of the ship’s masts cave in the unexploded ordnance still located within the forward holds could detonate. Therefore, army experts have been tasked with accurately eliminating the masts.

the final clearance operation is as a result of start in June subsequent yr and should last two months, consistent with MoD planners.

An MoD report noticed through the Telegraph states that in the worst case, “the masts collapse or the operation to remove them causes them to achieve this inflicting an explosion impacting the local space including the nearby Oil & Gas facilities in Sheerness leading to mass injury and doable lack of existence”.

Bomb disposal professionals from the Royal Navy and 29 Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Workforce are running with the MoD’s Salvage & Marine Operations (SALMO) Venture Workforce to make the spoil protected.

SS Richard Montgomery

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) says the risk of a “leading explosion” is “remote”.

Medway Ports is accountable for marking and guarding the smash for the MCA. Caution notices are fixed to the masts and a circle of buoys across the destroy ensures delivery avoids the area.

The wreck could also be below 24-hour radar surveillance via Medway Ports, whose operations room is within reach of the damage.

High-resolution multibeam sonar surveys of the break have been carried out on a regular foundation due to the fact that 2002.

Till 1984, surveys had been performed through MoD salvage divers. Faraway sonar technology used to be hired from 1993.

Divers were again hired on site in the course of the 2003 survey to adopt ultrasonic hull thickness analysis, and to supply an up-to-date assessment of the extent of seabed reinforce of the smash and of a large crack in one of the principle holds. A hull thickness survey was once repeated in 2013.

The shipwreck is surveyed at low water by the Thames Guardian Shipwreck is surveyed at low water through the Thames Father Or Mother Credit: James Bell / Alamy Stock Photo /James Bell / Alamy Inventory Picture

Lieutenant Normal Ian Cave, Commander Home Command And Status Joint Command (UNITED KINGDOM), is responsible for “resilience operations” during the provision of Army Help to the Civil Authorities (MACA). 

Army help is ‘wide-ranging’

Lt Gen Cave instructed the Telegraph such assistance used to be “large-ranging” and will include advisory make stronger to the SS Richard Montgomery process, as well as rapid relief following excessive weather.

Different MACA tasks come with the provision of military safety at prime occasions and bomb disposal operations (referred to as Explosive Ordnance Disposal).

Most visual in latest months are tasks undertaken as a part of Operation Rescript  – the MoD’s give a boost to to NHS – with hundreds of personnel deployed around the UNITED KINGDOM administering Covid booster jabs.

Lt Gen Cave stated: “The duties we are asked to adopt are extremely varied and it stands as testament to the dedicated men and girls from all 3 Products And Services that they’re able to adapt and respond to requests successfully and at tempo.

“This Christmas period will see over 1,THREE HUNDRED team of workers on duty. 

“in addition to the EOD teams on everlasting stand-via, a few thousand different servicemen and ladies stay at readiness. 

“I’m extremely proud of the contribution  they’ve made – and proceed to make – to maintain us protected, particularly at this time whilst their provider calls for them to be clear of home. They deserve our gratitude and thanks”.

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