Collision LogoThe Collision
• Part IV - A cascade of sparks, benzol, fire!
The Imo Pulls Away
Composite: After striking the Mont-Blanc, the Imo pulled away.

  The grinding of the Imo's bow on the broken plates of the Mont-Blanc sent a cascade of sparks onto the deck. The benzol ignited. In an instant, the forecastle of the Mont-Blanc was engulfed in a raging fire. The fire exploded barrels and sent others up like rockets into the sky above the Mont-Blanc.

   On shore crowds gathered, drawn to the harbour by the smoke and explosions on the deck.

   On the Imo, Captain From attempted to turn the Imo back up the harbour into the Basin.

   Onboard the Mont-Blanc, Captain Le Medec was faced with a crucial decision. With his knowledge of the cargo, should he order the crew to fight the fire? Should they attempt to steer the ship to open water? Should they attempt to scuttle the ship where she lay? Would there be time to take action before their cargo of 3000 tons of explosives caught fire? The order came from Captain Le Medec, "Abandon Ship!”

   Failing the attempt to turn the Imo back to the basin, Captain From ordered his ship out to sea.

  Columns of flame cut through the smoke as it lifted high over the Mont-Blanc.The spectacle of the Mont-Blanc ablaze drew onlookers from all directions. Sailors left their stations and gathered at ship railings, labourers and businessmen alike put down their work, shopkeepers came out into the street, wives left their wash lines, mothers and young children stood in windows. School children ran to see the fireworks.

  The burning benzol gave off a black smoke much like that of an oil tanker on fire, to those watching not an unlikely site. But the nature of the cargo on the Mont-Blanc was known to only its crew, its Captain, Pilot Mackey, Terrence Freeman the Examination Officer, and Commander Frederick Wyatt. Under normal circumstances the Mont-Blanc would have flown red flags to indicate it was carrying explosives, no red flags were flown due to the threat of submarine attack.

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