The masts on an explosive filled shipwreck in the Thames Estuary are set to be removed, according to Government plans. 

SS Richard Montgomery was an American Liberty ship built during World War II in 1943.

The ship was anchored in Sheerness, Kent, when it grounded and broke up in 1944.

The wreck remains in shallow waters on the sandbank where she sank- across the tide close to the Medway Approach Channel, around 1.5 miles off Sheerness and 5 miles off the coast of Southend.

The rusting masts of the 441ft long vessel are clearly visible above the water at all states of the tide.

And to this day about 1,400 tonnes of explosives remain on board - with the wreck monitored 24 hours a day and protected by a 500m exclusion zone.

An advert posted on a website called Sell2Wales, by the MoD on behalf of the DfT, revealed there was a "requirement" to remove the masts from the iconic wreckage.

While the advert, calling for suitable companies to come forward to carry out the task, also suggests that the contractor could potentially end up removing unexploded ordnance (UXO).

It says: “The Salmo team, part of the UK MoD acting on behalf of the DfT, have a requirement for the provision of unexploded ordnance services in order to support the successful delivery of the SS Richard Montgomery mast removal requirement.

"These services are likely to include, but not confined to, survey of seabed area in vicinity of wreck site, identification and removal for safe disposal of UXO, and confirmatory survey that area is safe from UXO."

Read more:

The explosive facts about wreck full of bombs off Southend coast

A document, from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, revealed the mast cutting would help reduce stress on rest of the structure.

In addition, the advert states the estimated date of publication of the contract notice is October 31, 2021.

It continues: "The authority plans to issue a contract notice for this requirement. A DSPCR 2011 Restricted Procedure competition shall follow with the intention to award the contract by the end of 2021.

"Due to the nature of the services required, tenderers may be subject to security checks and/or additional scrutiny prior to contract award.

"If you believe your company would be a suitable provider for this requirement and would like to be kept up to date with any information relating to this opportunity, then please contact"

To view the advert, click here.