One of the most dangerous areas of water off the British coast lies close to the weather-famous North Foreland - a quiet and deserted coastal stretch that faces the gale-swept North Sea.
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Background: One of the most dangerous areas of water off the British coast lies close to the weather-famous North Foreland - a quiet and deserted coastal stretch that faces the gale-swept North Sea.
No rocks or shoals lurk under these waters. Instead, the cruel sea conceals a great barrier of sand that claims an annual toll from the shipping of the world.
Constantly moving and shifting under the sea, the Goodwin Sands have been claiming their victims since the days when King Alfred built the first British fleet.
Since then warships, old-fashioned sailing vessels, and modern freighters have disappeared into the sands as, with their backs broken, they surrendered to the sea. Even the lightships that guards this lonely stretch of water are menaced and a few years ago one of these stoutly built vessels turned over and sank in a vicious storm.
Just recently the sands nearly claimed a new victim. Sailing across an area that showed water to a depth of 66 feet, the outward bound liner "Rangitata" went aground in less than 30 feet of water.
Lucky enough to float off at the next high tide, the liner immediately sent warning of the movement and survey ships hurried to the scene. Checking with echo sounding apparatus, these ships found that thousands of toms of sand had shifted to a new and dangerous position.
Now the seas are once more being made safe for craft on route to the great port of London as they marker bouys are shifted into a new position.