This story reads like a Hollywood action-adventure movie on the edge of your seat. The best stories are always true, and best of all, in this one, 3D technology is the hero.
In 1944, during World War II, the SS Richard Montgomery, an American Liberty ship built in 1943, was wrecked in the Thames Estuary near Sheerness, UK, not far from Kent. The ship, which had left Hog Island, Philadelphia in August and was heading for Cherbourg, France, was one of nearly 3,000 used during the war to transport cargo. When it suffered a devastating crack after dragging the anchor across a sandbar and eventually sank, it was carrying 1,500 tons of explosives on board.
Initially, a stevedoring company was tasked with removing the volatile cargo from the SS Richard Montgomery, but after just a day of effort the ship’s hull had cracked, making it difficult to remove the explosives. The kidnapping effort continued for almost a month, but was then abandoned in late September 1944. By then the ship had broken into two separate parts and the explosives remained on board.
The SS Richard Montgomery is, in essence, a “ticking time bomb”. The approximately 2,000 cases of cluster bombs and hundreds of standard bombs, each weighing nearly 1,000 pounds, have the potential to cause enormous damage. According to one historian, “the explosion could cause a tidal wave” and, New Scientist magazine warned in a 2004 article, “if the ship exploded, it would create one of the largest non-nuclear explosions ever seen and would devastate the port”. of Sheerness, causing up to £1 billion (about $1.4 billion) in damage.
Clearly, monitoring the status of the explosives still on board the SS Richard Montgomery is critically important and that’s where advanced 3D technology comes in. The Maritime Coastline Agency, which spends around £40,000 (just over $57,000) monitoring the ship 24/7 for years, recently used ‘multi-beam sonar technology’ to create a 3D image remarkably detailed ship. The incredible high-resolution image allows MCA, scientists and technicians to look inside the ship’s hold and get a clearer idea of the position and status of explosives.
MCA hasn’t indicated what the next steps might be in the high-stakes drama of the wreckage of the SS Richard Montgomery, but it seems clear that 3D technology will continue to play a key role in monitoring the ship and hopefully -the, to facilitate the long -awaited removal of decades-old explosives that threaten the English coast. Let us know what you think about this problem in the 3D Technology May Help Remove Explosives forum on 3DPB.com.
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