SS Mont-Blanc : A Massive Explosion Devastates A City


SS Mont Blanc

Accident type: Explosion
Vessels involved: SS Mont-Blanc and SS Imo
Date: December 6, 1917
Casualties: 2,000 died and 6,000 injured


Name: SS Mont-Blanc
Built in: 1899
Flag: France
Type: General Cargo
Tonnage: 3121 gross tons
Length: 98 m (320 ft)
Beam: 13.7 m (44.8 ft)
Depth: 4.7 m (15.3 ft)

The SS Mont-Blanc was a freighter built in Middlesbrough, England in 1899.  On December 6, 1917, in Nova Scotia’s busy Halifax Harbor, the SS Mont-Blanc, a French ship was loaded with a full cargo of highly volatile explosives.  As she made her way through the Narrows towards Bedford Basin, she was involved in a collision with the Norwegian ship, SS Imo.

After the collision, fire broke out on the SS Mont-Blanc, which soon ran aground on the Halifax waterfront, where a crowd had gathered to watch the burning ship.  About 20 minutes after the collision, the fire ignited the 2,925 tons of explosives the SS Mont-Blanc was transporting and sparked a massive blast.

The blast killed scores of people instantly and devastated the surrounding area, toppling buildings, setting entire blocks ablaze and triggering a tsunami.

More than 2,000 people died as a result of what became known as the Halifax Explosion—the largest man-made blast until the first atomic bomb was dropped on Japan in 1945– while more than 6,000 others were injured and some 9,000 people were left homeless.

Source: Wikipedia