Thoughts on the military and military activities of a diverse nature. Free-ranging and eclectic.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Texas City.

This is coolbert:

Homeland Security is reducing the money to be given to a lot of American cities. Monies intended to be used as part of preparedness for another 9/11 style attack.

New York City [NYC] is upset that money budgeted to be given to the Big Apple is being cut.

So is Texas City, TX. Texas City has been told it will receive less money for security than it got the previous year.

The reasoning for Texas City being given less money is that it does not possess any iconic landmarks.

NO, Texas City does possess an iconic landmark. In a way that surprises a lot of folks. A landmark, however, that is not literal. It is figurative.

An explosion of all things. Actually it was two explosions. Both occurring in 1947. Explosions that were of the same magnitude as would have been if a tactical nuclear weapon was detonated.

An explosion that gives you an idea of how powerful these ammonium nitrate type bombs can be.

Texas City was and is right in the center of the Houston oil refinery and oil processing and transport district. A city devoted to the oil industry. A chemical processing town.

Once of the chemicals processed was ammonium nitrate. Same substance as used in the ammonium nitrate fuel oil [ANFO] bombs.

A freighter, at dock in Texas City, was loading a cargo of ammonium nitrate when it caught fire. About five hundred forty [540] tons of the cargo had already been loaded, so the ship was more or less full.

[this ammonium nitrate was to be used as fertilizer in Europe.]

To fight the fire, the ship's Captain ordered that steam be used. This is a common way to fight fires on ships, to fill an area on fire with steam. The steam gets everywhere, the steam condenses into water, and the fire is put out.

In this case, fighting the fire with steam was the wrong approach. Detonated the ammonium nitrate. All those TONS [540 of them!!] detonated with a big bang.

The results were a calamity.

* The dock, the folks on the dock, and the ship disappeared from existence.

* A huge underwater crater was all that was left from where the ship had been.

* The town of Texas City was literally blown off the map.

* Frame buildings as far as a mile and a half away became kindling.

* About 500 people were killed. This is a conservative estimate, as so many folks were just plain obliterated. Those folks found were more or less unrecognizable, cut to shreds from flying debris. Never identified.

* Two private planes flying over the dock at the time of the blast were swatted out of the sky as if a giant hand had reached up and slapped them.

* Another ship anchored at the same dock also lading a load of ammonium nitrate also blew up in a sympathetic detonation, causing further damage.

To give you some idea of the force of the explosion, a piece of the propeller shaft from the first ship "to blow" was found buried 2 1/2 miles away from the blast, buried 12 feet in the ground. This "piece" was 12 feet long and 2 feet in diameter!!!

For a long time, experts have warned about the danger of terrorists getting their hands on a ship that is bearing liquid natural gas [LNG]. These ships, bearing immense loads of highly explosive, highly flammable LNG, could be hijacked, sailed into a major port of a target nation, and detonated. The results would be much like Texas City. Damage on a scale as only would be had from an atomic detonation.

[and of course, what nations are the biggest exporters of LNG?? Islamic countries of course!!]




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