29 October 2011

There she blows! Moment a 500-tonne barge is destroyed by explosives

This is the moment a massive 500-tonne, six-storey barge ship went BOOM after it was blown up by explosives.

The enormous barge ship named Margaret was destroyed in Jacobs Bay, 120km north of Cape Town, South Africa.

BOOM: The barge Margaret blown up after being stranded on the South African coast for six months

The 100 metre-long vessel - which had been en-route from China to the Netherlands - was deemed unsalvageable after it ran aground in winter storms.

On board, its huge cargo of two dry docks - massive maintenance bays for ships - and 12 river barges were also unable to be recovered and so the decision was taken to destroy everything.

Smoke on the water: A massive amount of explosives is detonated inside the stricken vessel

After a team appointed by the owners spent 6 months unsuccessfully attempting to remove the wreck from the rocks, all salvage efforts were abandoned.

The wreck then became the responsibility of the South African Maritime Safety Authority.

The enormous demolition task depended on using a massive two-and-a-half tonnes of explosives to bring the wreck crashing down like a pack of cards.

Explosive sight: The stranded barge smashes apart as the full blast rips through the superstructure

Amazingly, 6 of the barges on board were successfully released into the water during the operation and towed to the port of Saldanha, a few miles away.

Amateur photographer and marine salvage worker Glenn Kasner caught the whole amazing spectacle on camera.

Mr Kasner, 52, from South Africa, said: 'Various options were considered and it was eventually decided that the best method would be to release as many of the barges as possible by toppling the stack by means of controlled explosions.

Now you see it, now you don't: The aftermath of the explosion & the barge is completely destroyed

'A naval architect - assisted by an explosives expert - carefully calculated exactly the quantity of explosives required and where these 'shaped charges' should be placed in order to achieve the desired effect.

'Preparations for the blast included boarding up the windows on all the houses in close proximity to the site and evacuating the residents to safe viewing sites,' said Mr Kasner.

'We watched it from about a kilometre away, it was softer than expected and sounded much like someone firing a machine gun as the individual detonations were milliseconds apart.

He explained: 'The reason for this was to prevent damage to the nearby houses - some as close as 200m - from the huge shock wave.'
But the operation was deemed a success. 'In fact, not a single window pane was broken during the operation,' Mr Kasner said.

Source: The Daily Mail. 28 October 2011

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