Sheppey's bomb ship is about to face its biggest battle.
The Second World War munitions vessel SS Richard Montgomery, which sank off Sheerness in August 1944 packed with explosives after running aground on a sandbank, is about to have its rusting masts sliced off to make it safer.
But a row is raging over where they should end up – in Sheerness or Southend.
Far from abandoning them at the bottom of Davey Jones' Locker, campaigners want them put on show so visitors can marvel at their barnacle-encrusted heritage and historical importance.
Veteran sailor Tim Bell suggests they are planted in the Moat, the defensive canal dug to protect Sheerness from marauding invaders.
He said: "That would be good place for them. They should be turned into a maritime memorial for all those sailors who lost their lives on liberty ships. There were more than 2,710 built to bring vital supplies from America to Britain. They helped save us."
He added: "The masts are part of Sheppey's heritage. I've been in touch with the authorities so they are aware of the idea. But no one else has stepped in to take the lead. I was hoping Sheerness, Minster or Swale council would take on the challenge but I've been disappointed with the response so far."
The fate of the masts was raised at Swale council's Sheppey area committee. Mr Bell said afterwards: "The masts certainly have value. Even if they can't come ashore whole, they could be chopped into pieces and sold as souvenirs."
Former town councillor Chris Foulds even created a mock-up showing how they could look. He said: "What an amazing visual attraction this could be of a piece of local naval history for visitors coming into Sheerness from Brielle Way."
The idea, he said, was originally mooted by Cllr Ken Ingleton during a 'levelling up' public consultation for Sheerness organised by Swale council.
But word has come from across the water that Southend has put in a bid, too.
Essex historian Marion Pearce is against removing the masts but says if they are to be chopped down they should be preserved and put in a museum along with other recovered artefacts, although preferably not the 1,400 tonnes of bombs still in the holds.
She says the masts are a “huge part” of Southend’s history and is reported as saying: “I quite understand there’s a hazard but it’s still historical and it marks an important time for the town. I can’t see why they can’t be put on display for people to see and learn about.
“They should be taken and put into a museum rather than being destroyed."
Sheerness town councillor Brian Spoor was apoplectic when he discovered the rival plan.
In somewhat fruity sea dog language, he said a rude word and then added: "The cheeky blighters. It's our ship."
The retired businessman, 74, who can see the masts from his home in Beach Street, stormed: "They are one-and-a-half miles from Sheerness and five miles from Southend so there's no contest."
However, he is not entirely convinced the canal site, next to Tesco, is the best option.
"I'd like to see them at Barton's Point coastal park," he said. "There's a huge boating lake there. People could watch them as they picnic around the bank."
Cllr Cameron Beart, who was at Tuesday's meeting, said: "Swale council said it had considered saving the masts but had not progressed further as it would cost too much and it didn't have the budget."
He added: "Committee chairman Ken Ingleton said he was going to raise it with Sittingbourne and Sheppey MP Gordon Henderson."
A spokesman for the Department for Transport, which is masterminding the removal of the masts on behalf of the Ministry of Defence, said: "Discussions about the role of the masts once they are removed from the wreck are still ongoing.
"The connection the wreck has with the local communities will be considered."