SS Mont-Blanc : A Massive Explosion Devastates A City

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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

VESSEL INFO:

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

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