Random Jottings

Even more legends and myths about SS Somali

Regular readers will know that I do, on occasion do a little research on even well known wrecks, well this article is just a brief update.....


Ok, so in the last article I talked about the 'nuclear bomb' on SS Somali, or at least the possibility that she may have been carrying some nuclear material, that is to say 3kg of Uranium Hexafluoride!


This time I thought that I would share some details from the ships plan I now have of SS Somali, which I will hopefully add when the bloody software for the site allows me to insert images, hey ho!


Anyway, identified on the plans is a stowage area for special cargo, this space is nominally 8ft high, 16ft long and 32 ft wide so quite a substantial space and certainly large enough to hold the 3kg which would be stored in cylinders. The other interesting point is that this area is located near the bows of the ship.......you know the bows which were blown off and rest a significant distance from the wreck?

So I thought what would this 'special cargo' comprise of, well certainly the coins and bank-notes which were apparently bound for Hong Kong, legend also says that the safe was located in an area by the bows, again the special cargo area would be the prime candidate, it is secure and ties up with the narrative. I am sure that there would be other high value goods kept in this area, if the medical supplies contained morphine it would also be kept under lock and key and so on. The argument for the coins being stored in the area which was the site of the explosion also explains the 'red hot coins raining down on Beadnell'.

From a volumetric point of view our special cargo area had a nominal volume of 90 cubic meters, more than large enough for the coins, safe, drugs and cylinders, would also be large enough for 6 cubic meters of high explosive plus associated packing etc?

Well if we assume that everything was hand-carried then the standard packing assembly was for ~10kg of explosives to be held in a packing case that has a volume of about 0.15 cubic meters, using these figures we can see that there would need to be about 40 cubic meters of space, SS Somali had about 90 cubic meters so it is possible that she was carrying conventional explosives....but again why wasn't it on the manifest? She was carrying a mixed cargo inclusing military supplies and was a legitimate target, it's not like there would be a similar narrative to SS Lusitania.....

So the dig continues, in the meantime no need for a lead suit when diving SS Somali, I think!!!!

Dive safe!!




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