The SS Montgomery is just over a year away from going on a European tour in order to promote Southend as a tourist destination.

After the success of the recent video promoting Southend On Sea to potential Dutch visitors, Southend News Network can EXCLUSIVELY reveal that there are now plans in place to take one of Southend’s most famous landmarks, the SS Montgomery, on a European tour – it is hoped that this will give Europeans a real taste of what it is like to be around the town.

The ambitious project will involve attaching the current wreck to a specially-made trawler, and the £400m vessel has already been ordered from Japanese shipbuilding firm Taliwhacki Shipping. The ship is due for completion in March 2017, and then the wreck will be taken to points that are 1.5 miles from the shore of Barcelona, Hamburg, Nice, Venice, Lisbon, Copenhagen, Hook Of Holland and Gothenburg. Local people will then be able to look out to sea and get a real sense of what it is like to live so close to a real-life WW2 wreck that is packed full of explosives. The tour is due to finish in April 2018, and at this point it will then be returned to its original location between the coastlines of Essex and Kent.

David Boom, chairman of the SS Montgomery European Tour Consortium, feels that this will do wonders for the town’s international profile. He said, ‘We need people to realise that Southend On Sea is about much more than the world’s longest pleasure pier, and this ambitious tour project will really put Southend on the map, unless of course there is a technical hitch that ends up taking Southend off it.’

We asked Mr Boom if safety concerns were being taken seriously. He replied, ‘Safety is at the forefront of everything that is going into this project. In the event that the wreck becomes unstable during transit, we will be able to leave it somewhere else as a permanent reminder of the benefits of taking a holiday in Southend. In any case, people need to realise that explosives simply do not work underwater – put a lit match into a sink full of water and what happens? It goes out. Enough said.’