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Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Largest Ever Man-Made Explosion (Pre Nuclear)"

6th December 1917, HALIFAX Nova Scotia, Canada. The French Cargo ship SS Mont Blanc was carrying her cargo of high explosives very slowly on her way to Bordeaux in France when she collided at a speed of only 1 knot with the fast moving un-laden Norwegian SS Imo at around 8.45 am.

The resulting fire was uncontrolled and at 9.04:35 Mont Blanc exploded.
Some 2,000 People were killed and 9,000 others were injured.


Nearly all structures within a radius of 2,600 feet (800 metres) were obliterated. The explosions resulting tsunami wiped out a whole community of Mi'kmaq First Nations peoples.

Mont Blanc's forward 90 mm gun landed with its barrel melted-away some 5.6 kilometres (3.5 miles) to the North.

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Another Explosives ship - is still waiting there off the UK coast -  but is unexploded (to date) in the South of England ..

In the UK Thames Estuary there is a 500 metre exclusion zone (1,640 feet) around the rusting World War II wreck of the SS Richard Montgomery. - An American Liberty Ship built in WWII she lays under water close to the shipping channel near the town of Sheerness.

She is loaded with some 1,400 tons of explosives including dozens of 'BLOCKBUSTER BOMBS' and 2,000 cases of cluster bombs - plus hundreds of 'normal' bombs weighing up to 1,000 pounds each.

Multi Beam Sonar Data with Laser Images Merged to Make This 3D Picture of
SS Richard Montgomery in January 2016.

She has been sunk on a sand bank for some 71 years since she dragged her anchor and grounded.

- Maybe half of her cargo was removed before the hull crack worsened  and she was abandoned as being too dangerous to attempt to move anything more.
Montgomery's Masts Still above Water (until they fall with a crash).

If Montgomery explodes - it is again said that it would be one of the biggest ever man made explosions - and its effect and possible casualties cannot be estimated.

The ship is close to the Thames Estuary area proposed to be used to locate a new London Airport (The "Boris" Airport) - and would of course need to have all of the unstable high explosive bombs removed if the new airport were to progress.

I have SCUBA dived on both WW I and WW II wrecks around Southern England - and can say that it is often noticeable how weak, brittle and thin (sharp edged too) that heavy steel plate becomes after years of immersion in salty sea water. I recall bringing up a pick/ pickaxe head from a wreck that rotted in days when exposed to air until all that remained was a miniature eight inch sized relic of the original.
Full Sized Un-rusted.

Hmm - Sellafield nuclear dumps up North and SS Montgomery down South - with all-sorts in between ..

Marty K.