The Halifax Explosion. Essay

1102 words - 4 pages

The words on the Halifax Herald front page on Friday, December 7, 1917 read, "Halifax wrecked! More than one thousand are killed in this city, many thousands are injured and homeless!" This was describing what the world would later come to know as the 2nd largest, most violent, man-made explosion after the atomic bomb. It is also one of the most silent tragedies, seeing as how little word is spoken of it today. For many Canadians on that most unpleasant morning, it marked "the day the war came home."There are a number of applicable areas of interaction. As a result of Homo Fabor, or the creation by man, one of the ships, The Mont Blanc contained 3000 tons of deadly explosives in its cargo. These bombs were created by man to destroy other lives. Destroy others it did, but not at the right time, or intended location. The entire explosion caused terrible effects on the environment, another applicable area. An entire city, and its environmental resources and growth was abolished. The health of the survivors was poor, and many died. This is most applicable to Health and Social education in the areas of interaction.On the morning of December 1917, It was a bright, chilly Thursday Halifax Harbour. Men were leaving to work, saying farewell to their families. Everything was as customary as usual, and no one suspected the events about to unfold.The two vessels awaiting the opening of the harbour that morning was the Imo, and the Mont Blanc. The Imo, a relief ship, had arrived in Halifax Harbour from Rotterdam. She was a Norwegian 4 mast tramp steamer, weighing 5043 tons, and measuring 420.7 feet long. On that most fateful day, the pilot William Hayes steered the ship through the narrow parts of the harbour. The Mont Blanc was a French single-screw freighter. Built in 1899, and owned by The Compagne Générale Tranatlantique. She was noticeably smaller than the Imo, weighing 3121 tons. Captain Amé Le Medec had brought this ship to the harbor the previous day. The French ship was 320 feet long, and contained enough chemical explosives to level an entire city. In the cargo was 200 tons of TNT, 2300 tons of picric acid, 61 tons of gun cotton in the lower hold, and 35 tons of highly flammable Benzyl, stored in barrels on the upper deck.No one but the crew of the Mont Blanc was aware that it carried 3000 tons of explosives. At 7:30am, the Mont Blanc left the gates of the harbour, and headed to join the convoy in the Bedford Basin. At the same time, the Imo moved forward, it's massive weight moving through the harbour, ever closer, unknowing, to the ticking chemical bomb, the Mont Blanc.As the two ships traveled through the narrow part of the harbour, the Mont Blanc did not have the regulation red flag, which indicates it is carrying explosives. It could not allow this information to be known, for it would have been an easy target for German U-boats. The ship signaled the Imo that they were traveling on the right side. The Imo signaled...

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