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Sinking of Decommissioned Ships

After a ship is decommissioned from service it is often used as a target to test new weapons or training personnel in the operating of the same weapon. Sometime a ship is sunk to make artificial reef and diving site. A well documented weapon test operation, pictures of which were released by the Navy in the public domain, is the sinking of the HMAS Torrens on 14 June 1999. HMAS Torrens was a destroyer escort of the Royal Australian Navy from 1971 till her decommissioning in 1998. She was sunk by a torpedo from a submarine during the latter's combat system trials.

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The explosive power of a torpedo is clearly demonstrated in these photos. The warhead detonates below the keel of the target ship, the resulting pressure wave of the explosion lifts the ship and breaks its keel in the process. As the ship "settles" it is then seemingly hit by a second detonation as the explosion itself rips through the area of the blast. This combined effect often breaks smaller targets in half and can severely disable larger vessels.

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Images and footage of the ship sinking have been used and adapted for various purposes. Digitally edited film of the torpedo hitting Torrens was used in the 2001 film Pearl Harbor as part of a black-and-white 'newsreel' montage. Then in 2006 a Hezbollah-operated website released one of these photos claiming to be that of an Israeli warship sunk by a Hezbollah missile.

A more recent sinking operation has been captured in the following images. The ship and the location could not identified at this moment, so I’m unsure whether this was sunk as a test for some weapon or to create a wreck diving site or for some other purposes.

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1 comment:

  1. Second ship is HMNZS Wellington (F69), a Leander class frigate sunk off the south coast of Wellington as a dive reef.

    ReplyDelete

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