The explosion in Beirut (now including the Tallboy in Poland)

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We lived, for 5 years, only 5 miles from the Richard Montgomery, with very little between us and the ship. One always wondered whether or not to take an umbrella when going out!


Roger King
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Joined: 17/04/2014

About ten years ago I sailed up the Thames on a friend's boat. We sailed past the Richard Montgomery and even though it is passed by ships many times a day it was definitely an exercise to be undertaken with clenched nether regions - certainly for me.

We moored up that night at Queenborough on the Isle of Sheppey, right behind what appeared to be a beaten up old fishing boat on its last legs; the skipper of this boat invited us on board and we were amazed to see that it was more like the starship Enterprise inside with computer screens everywhere. It turned out that they were carrying out a survey of the Richard Montgomery for the authorities - not for the first time - and he showed us sections through the ship demonstrating how the cargo has shifted as the ship has corroded/settled. I have no idea what technology was being used but the images looked almost like sections from a brain scan. I'm not sure that we were really meant to have seen them.

I read in New Scientist a few years ago that if it were to go up, it would likely be the biggest non-nuclear explosion to have ever happened with water and debris thrown up to 1Km in the air. New Scientist, as you will all be aware, is not exactly known for sensationalism or exaggeration.