The Royal Navy has been sent to dismantle a sunken warship off the north Kent coast containing 1,400 tons of explosives.
SS Richard Montgomery was sunk in August 1944 during World War II and is located on the Nore Sandbank in the Thames Estuary, near Sheerness.
Due to fears that the wreck has the potential to cause “mass damage and loss of human life” in the future, the Royal Navy has been called in to dismantle it.
Read more: The ticking time bomb is under Kent’s waters
A no-access exclusion zone is in place around the boat at the moment, as Express reports.
The Department of Defense points to the nearby oil and gas facilities in Sheerness as being the biggest problems associated with the sunken warship.
They say that if the ship explodes, then “it would throw a 300 m wide column of water and debris almost 3,000 m into the air and generate a 5 m high wave”.
According to the results of an investigation carried out by the Ministry of Transport, three of the ship’s masts are considered to be in poor condition and deteriorating.
If one of these masts collapses, it is expected to detonate the explosives and cause the entire boat to explode.
An MoD document seen by The Telegraph suggests, at worst, that “the masts collapse, or the operation to remove them causes them to do so, causing an explosion affecting the local area, including the nearby oil and gas facilities in Sheerness, which leads to mass damage and potential loss of life ”.
MoD’s Salvage and Marine Operations project team is working with bomb disposal experts from the Royal Navy and 29 Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group to find the most suitable way to make the wreck safe.
But the Danish Maritime and Coast Guard Agency says the risk of a “major explosion” is “remote”.
Lieutenant General Ian Cave, Commander Home Command and Standing Joint Command (UK), said: “The tasks we are asked to undertake are extremely varied and stand as a testimony to the dedicated men and women of all three services, that they are able to adapt and respond to requests efficiently and at a pace.
“During this Christmas period, over 1,300 employees will be on duty.
“In addition to the EOD teams on permanent stand-by, several thousand other soldiers and women are still ready.
“I am extremely proud of the contribution they have made – and continue to make – to keep us safe, especially at this time when their service requires them to be away from home.
“They deserve our gratitude and thanks.”
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