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Frazer-Nash’s David Wyse talks SS Richard Montgomery as guest lecturer on explosive ordnance engineering course

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The virtual event will take place on Wednesday 17 March.

Frazer-Nash group leader and former Army bomb disposal officer, David Wyse, is set to be a guest lecturer on the Safety Assurance Module for Cranfield University’s Explosive Ordnance Engineering MSc.

The virtual event will be attended by UK and international military officers on Wednesday 17 March. It will include a presentation on the ‘SS Richard Montgomery Challenge’ and a discussion session to examine the risks and options for different management strategies.

The 7200 ton cargo ship, SS Richard Montgomery was anchored in Sheerness, Kent, when it grounded some 250m north of the Medway Approach Channel and broke up in 1944. It was carrying ordnance in support of the war effort. Although half of the ship’s cargo was removed shortly after, some 1,400 tons of explosives remain within the forward holds.

While the risk of a major explosion is believed to be remote, the wreck and its cargo is monitored round the clock by port authorities and protected by a 500-metre exclusion zone. Regular surveys are carried out by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, to ensure that any changes to the wreck, or its immediate environment, are discovered quickly.

In his presentation, David will talk about the challenges of assessing the risk to, and from, 75-year-old munitions that lie in shallow water, and how bow-tie diagrams can be used to visualise the potential threats and consequences in this situation.