Wreck of the Kowloon Bridge

 

 

 

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Construction

Type: Bulk Carrier (ore/bulk/oil)

Built: Swan Hunter in 1973

Yard: Belfast

Hull: Steel

Dimensions: 900 ft x ft

Tonnage: 169,080

 

One of 6 sister-ships including the well known Derbyshire, which also sank (disappeared) off the coast of Japan in September, 1980.

 

 

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Kowloon Brige - 24 November 1986

The British flag, Honk Kong registered ore/bulk/oil motor vessel Kowloon Bridge, which was built in 1973 as a sister ship to the ill-fated Derbyshire which disappeared off the coast of Japan in September, 1980, herself also became a total loss in November, 1986 when she was wrecked off the southern coast of Ireland.

 

The Kowloon Bridge was on a voyage from St. Lawrence River port of seven Islands, Quebec, from where she started on 7/11/86 bond for the River Clyde terminal of Hunterston, loaded with a cargo of 160,000 tons of iron ore consigned to British Steel Corporation.

 

However, en route she had to seek shelter in Bantry Bay to effect repairs to deck cracks sustained during heavy Atlantic weather. Then, after having lost her standard anchor in a heavy swell on 22/11/86, she sailed out of Bantry bay but then lost her steerage and began to drift in continuing heavy seas. Due to the dangerous nature of the situation, the 28 man crew decided to abandon ship, being winched to safety by helicopters in mountainous seas. The helpless vessel was then driven aground in gale-force winds on Stag Rock, near Baltimore, Co. Cork. Her 1200 tons of bunker fuel began to leak, causing a serious pollution problem to bird and marine wildlife and nearby coves and beaches. Despite the joint efforts of two of the world’s top salvage companies, Smit & Wijsmuller, the wrecked Kowloon Bridge could not be refloated and, when she broke her back on the rocks, all salvage attempts were abandoned. She was left to the elements to pound to pieces. The hull and machinery insurance was £8.4m, while the value of the lost ore was £2.7m.

 

kowloon bridge kowloon bridgekowloon bridge bulbous bow kowloon bridge propellor

 

 

 

 

 

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Location

51° 28' N 009° 14' W

6.5m from Baltimore and 0.25m W/SW from the Stag Rocks, lying in a E/SE to W/NW direction,

 

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Depth

Top: 17 mtr near her bow and 22 on bulk heads separating the holds

Seabed: 24-36 mtr

 

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Disposition

Lying upright with her bow facing W/NW. Until a few years ago when her bow was still intact you could see the winches, hauser hole (anchor chain) just 6 mtr below the surface. However a bad storm and 20 years of corrosion and wave /tidal movement broke her up from above the bulbous bow. This section now lies NW of the bulb.

Good life and marine growth on bow, whilst the iron ore (spread out extensively) is bare with just a dusting of silt.

Seabed: Rock

Slack-dependant dive site.