Bowbelle Mau Rei


Documentário Vencedor IV Festival Internacional de Video Subaquático VideoDigisub 2010. 

The Bom-Rei is an 80m long and 13.5 m wide dredge vessel. It was built in the shipyards of Troon, England, in 1964 and named Bowbelle. At dawn on August 20th, 1989, the Bowbelle was sailing on the River Thames in London when a passenger boat that was traveling 45m ahead in a parallel route, unexpectedly entered its collision course. The difference in size between the vessels and an alleged communication failure between the crews of the two ships made the crash inevitable. On board, the Marchioness traveled four crewmembers and 127 passengers who were that night celebrating the 26th birthday of a young Portuguese citizen. At 1:46 a.m. under the clear sky of a summer night, the giant Bowbelle rammed into the little Marchioness. It only took 30 seconds for the 26m long passenger ship to be submerged completely into the waters of the Thames, near London Bridge. In the tragic accident, there was a toll of 51 deaths in the passengers on the Marchioness. The Bowbelle only suffered property damage when it struck two pillars of the Cannon Street Bridge. A year later, the Bowbelle was sold to Portugal and named Bom-Rei. She then began to operate as a sand dredger in Madeira. Seven years after the tragic accident in London, the Bom-Rei got itself back into trouble, this time in the open sea, near Madalena do Mar. Excess burden opened a crack in the hull, which was possibly weakened by structural damage resulting from the accident of 1989. The crew managed to save themselves, but the Bom-Rei eventually sank, 800m off the coast, on March 25th, 1996. The wreckage was found months later by the heads of a diving center at the site where it can be visited today.

© 2018 Gonçalo Gomes / gogoimage
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