Home Business News Tsunami could flood London as WW2 shipwreck loaded with explosives is a ‘ticking time bomb’

Tsunami could flood London as WW2 shipwreck loaded with explosives is a ‘ticking time bomb’

by LLB Reporter
25th Oct 21 1:41 pm

There is a WW2 American shipwreck which is loaded with some 1,400 tonnes of explosives which could cause a tsunami flooding London should the sunken ship explode.

The SS Richard Montgomery sank and split in two during World War Two during a storm in the Thames Estuary off Sheerness.

The shipwreck has been labelled a “ticking time bomb” and is monitored 24 hours a day by port authorities 77-years after it sunk.

A scientific report revealed that should the shipwreck explode it would send debris up to 1.8 miles in the air, with a tsunami being sent up the River Thames which would “damage buildings for several miles around.”

The explosion would also hit the liquid gas containers which is located on the Isle of Grain in the Hoo Peninsula which would hit from Margate to central London.

Ken Knowles, a director who has spent several years making a film about the shipwreck told KentLive in May, “If the Montgomery went off it could cause a tsunami that would flood London.”

Local historian Colin Harvey told the BBC, “The remit area for the explosion would be from Margate to the centre of London.

“It would level Sheerness, and a 30 or 40ft (12.19m) wave would breach sea defences. Sheppey’s got a population of 25,000 people.

“Where would they go?”

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) published a report in 2000 which warned there are holes in the ship which has been brought on due to deterioration.

The Agency warned that if there was a collision with another vessel that would be enough to “sufficiently disturb the munitions aboard to produce the conditions necessary for a mass explosion.”

The shipwreck could capsize due to the erosion surrounding the seabed this could cause the ammunition to explode, or the munitions could be swept away by the tide, the report claimed. But the seabed is monitored and is thought to be stable.

Another risk identified in the report says that should the shipwreck break up then munitions could be swept away by the tides and be “washed ashore on beaches.”

The MCA report said, “This could result in individual munitions being washed ashore on beaches.

“This reduces the effect of a mass explosion from the remaining munitions, however, a new risk of individual munitions exploding or burning on beaches is created.”

The report ended with the warning that at some point structural failure “will occur” in time.

The report added, “The risk of a major explosion is believed to be remote and is probably becoming even less likely with the passage of time.

“It may eventually pass altogether, but this is not likely to be for some considerable time.

“It would probably be very dangerous to try to find out the true situation within the wreck, particularly if this involved significant interference.”

Dave Welch, a former naval bomb disposal expert, said, “The idea that if one item goes ‘bang’ then everything will is, I think, pretty unlikely.

“Unless you’ve got intimate contact between two munitions subsurface, you’ll rarely cause the other to detonate, because water is a very good mitigator.”

He added, the condition of the wreck is what poses a danger, “The items aren’t the ticking time bomb, the wreck is.

“It’s the fact that they’re inside a ship which is slowly decaying that could have the potential of causing enough energy going in them to cause them to detonate.”

A Department for Transport spokesman told KentOnline: “As part of our prudent risk-management, expert wreck assessors are now undertaking detailed surveys which will inform future work to reduce the height of the masts.”

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