Exploded warship lives on under the sea as it becomes fake reef.
Byline: TONY HENDERSON Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org
EXPLODING into a ball of flames, the last moments of a warship's life is captured by North East filmmakers.
Video production company Newsmaker PR, based in Cramlington in Northumberland, was given access by the Portuguese navy to film the sinking of the corvette Afonso Cerqueira to create an artificial reef off Madeira.
The company was commissioned by Chemring Energetics UK - which supplied the special explosive required - to capture the last days of the vessel, which was built in Spain in 1973.
The ship, which was retired from service in 2015, was sunk to create an artificial reef in Cabo Girao marine reserve to provide habitats for wildlife and as an attraction for diving, a popular activity on the island.
Newsmaker was started in 2010 by Andrew Lambert who is a former BBC news editor. The company works closely with 3 Point Media in Darlington who post-produced the Madeira video.
Producer Andrew and cameraman Ross Marshall went onboard the Afonso Cerqueira after she had been towed into position 400 metres offshore and 24 hours before the operation to sink her.
On board they filmed the team of Portuguese Navy explosive ordnance disposal divers as they fitted 16 charges of the explosive SABREX.
Mini waterproof cameras were fitted throughout the ship to record her final moments.
They were recovered by the Portuguese Navy divers once the Afonso Cerqueira had settled on the seabed 30 metres below the surface.
"There was a lot of interest from Portuguese TV and it was a big news event," said Andrew. "It was fascinating to walk round the ship, which had been stripped of almost all of its equipment - apart from a giant food mixer in the galley and the wheel on the bridge, which were left for the benefit of the divers.
"There was a big exclusion zone on land and sea, but we found a great spot and Ross's pictures are very dramatic. The on-board video - particularly from inside the bridge - is amazing."
Chris Smith of Chemring Energetics UK said: "It was a privilege for Chemring to play a key role in a project like this where such a diverse range of expertise was brought together to achieve an ultimate act of recycling."
The Portuguese Chief of Staff of the Navy, Admiral Antonio Mendes Calado, said: "It's a very beautiful way to end our ships.
"They continue, even after being disarmed, to serve as sources of life in our seas."
Andrew Lambert of Newsmaker PR and Video Production Ltd