- The town of Chernobyl was completely abandoned after the nuclear disaster, including the port and its boats
- While some were repair vessels working at the power station, others were simply in the wrong place
- More than 30 years later they are still there, rusting into the water because they are too irridiated to salvage
- Photographer Thomas Windisch captured these eerie images of the wrecks during his visit to the town
These are the rusting shipwrecks of Chernobyl, left to sink into the river that carried them to the site of the nuclear disaster more than 30 years after the reactor went into meltdown.
While some of them have been hacked up for scrap by workers brave enough to venture there, many still remain as they were left when everyone fled as radiation filled the air around them.
Photographer Thomas Windisch captured these eerie images of the remaining vessels which once helped to repair the site, but now lie abandoned.
Photographer Thomas Windisch captured these images while visiting Chernobyl dockyard which was once used to supply and repair the nuclear facility before the disaster there in 1986. The rusting wrecks have since been left to decay into the Pripyat river which carried them to the site in the first place
Mr Windisch said many of the vessels were used by the nuclear facility, but some were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time as the disaster unfolded. While some have been hacked apart for scrap, others remain almost intact – too badly irradiated to be used for anything else
Some of the boats were used after the blast in order to help with the cleanup, Mr Windisch said, but most of them have not moved a day since their owners fled. The Chernobyl meltdown is the deadliest in history, having killed 31 people directly and affected the health of hundreds of thousands of other workers
The port existed for decades before the nuclear power plant was built there, serving as a fishing and transport hub for the locals. It was later appropriated for use by the power plant. Chernobyl is the second-most expensive nuclear disaster to clean up, at $50billion in today’s money, compared to Fukushima Daiichi, estimated at $187billion
The town of Chernobyl, where the port was located, is actually situated around 13 miles from the nuclear plant, but still needed to be abandoned following the disaster. Radiation levels were so intense after the meltdown that workers close to the core were given a lethal dose within seconds
The shipyard is located just to the north of Chernobyl, in a natural inlet of the Pripyat river, downstream from the nuclear plant. Even today, radiation levels are still too high for safe human habitation – though some people have returned, while tourists also frequent the site
The boats, along with the surrounding area, were abandoned shortly before 1.30am on April 26, 1986, when the Chernobyl nuclear plant went into meltdown. The disaster happened during a security drill which went wrong, causing water to be suddenly vaporised into steam, which led to an explosion
Nature has been reclaiming the site since people left more than 30 years ago, with grasses and weeds sprouting up through the decks of the rusting ships and vines covering abandoned buildings. Biologists have also reported large and rare animals being seen in the area for the first time in decades
Until the Fukushima Daiichi disaster, Chernobyl was the worst nuclear disaster on record, ranked a maximum 7 on the International Nuclear Event Scale. By comparison the Three Mile Island incident was marked as a 5. The exclusion zone around Chernobyl (pictured) and Pripyat remains in place to this day
While the accident took place in Ukraine, the impact was felt internationally. Belarus was actually the most contaminated by the fallout, followed by Ukraine and then Russia. The radiation spread to most of Europe, and was detected at significant levels as far afield as Italy, 1,500 miles from the reactor
The port was located around a floating pontoon, which remains (pictured). Mr Windisch said a few homes near the site even appeared to be inhabited, despite health warnings, though he did not see any of the occupants
Courtesy: Daily Mail Online