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Last Updated: Wednesday, 29 August 2007, 07:24 GMT 08:24 UK
Mystery of 'Dundee leak' solved
The team will find out if the Discovery is water-tight in November
A team restoring the hull of the RRS Discovery believe they may have got to the bottom of a mystery leak.

The so-called "Dundee leak" has affected the famous Antarctic exploration ship ever since her launch more than a century ago.

The experts have been trying to cure the problem by using a coal tar compound known as "black pudding".

They will find out if they have been successful when Discovery is refloated in November.

Captain Robert Scott's ship, used on his expedition to Antarctica, was dry-docked earlier this year so damage caused by mussels, barnacles and a worm could be repaired.

It allowed the team to investigate the "Dundee leak".

Gill Poulter from Dundee Heritage Trust told BBC Scotland it was a particular problem on the vessel's 1901-1904 trip to the Antarctic.

She said: "The leak got into the hold where the food stores were kept and damaged quite a lot.

"Some were totally ruined and the labels came off tins and things, so they didn't know what they had.

We'll be able to check every level before she floats and we'll be able to see if she leaks or not
John Watson
Project manager

"It was pretty important to know whether the tin you were opening was ox-tongue or Brussels sprouts or gooseberries or whatever it might have been."

Members of the restoration team have not said exactly where they believe the leak to be, but have been sealing the gaps with the "black pudding" compound.

It will be tested when water is allowed back into the Discovery's dock in November, a few feet at a time.

Project manager John Watson told BBC Scotland: "We'll examine the inside of the ship and after 24 hours, we'll put another 4ft in and so on every 24 hours.

"We'll be able to check every level before she floats and we'll be able to see if she leaks or not."

Experts explain why black pudding may be the solution

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