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The Disappearing Wreck Mystery


Justified & Ancient
Jul 3, 2009
The general impression I get is that these materials are very high quality compared to what is available today, and so command a premium, not just for the low background nature, but for purity and quality in general.

The lack of atmospheric contaminants seems to make these worthwhile retrieving even from these contested controversial sources.

It is a sad thing that war graves are plundered in this manner, irrespective of politics.

Giant R

Ephemeral Spectre
May 21, 2021
I’ve just done a quick, if rather complex, calculation involving current UK scrap brass price and the volume of a WW2 battleship propeller (the Bismarck’s, oddly enough), and a value of £21,000 seems about right.

(~£2.50/kilo; 2.4m³)

maximus otter
There was an article by Popular mechanics in 2021 where a Russian naval captain reportedly stole the propellers off his old ship and had them replaced with cheaper ones. It was a Sovremenny class missile destroyer and apparently they were switched when the ship was refitted. When you consider that the ship is 'only' 6,600 tons, each propeller (there were 2) weighed 13 tons. When you think the Prince of Wales weighed 35,000 tons and had 4 props.
The new RN aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth has propellers weighing 33 tonnes each.


Jul 13, 2011
Hobbs End

Malaysia detains Chinese ship suspected of looting British WW2 wrecks

The bulk carrier was seized on Sunday for anchoring illegally at the site in the South China Sea.
Ammunition believed to be from the HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Repulse, which were sunk by Japanese forces more than 80 years ago, was then found on board.

Old shipwrecks are targeted by scavengers for their rare low-background steel, also known as "pre-war steel". The low radiation in the steel makes it a rare and valuable resource for use in medical and scientific equipment.