Originally Posted by RoxyFish
What company for on deck cargo? I have a freind that wants to ship to Australia and is looking at different options. Thanks!!!
Geez, I wish I still had the pictures. Several years ago I was sailing on a containership run from Seattle to Hong Kong with a few stops along the way. We picked up a nice 45 - 50' trawler yacht in Kaohsiung, Taiwan as deck cargo for Seattle.
The best place to carry it was on the aft deck where we would load "flats" and other oddball cargo. At that time, the builders didn't use shrinkwrap to seal the boats but just covered them with blue tarps tied down with a mile of heavy string. I'm sure it seemed like a good idea at the time.
Where it all started to go terribly wrong was that our ship was one of those converted steam powered LASH
These ships are unique in that the the engine room is beneath the hold just aft of midships with a separate stack for each boiler on each side of the ship in a "stack house" kind of setup. Like most containerships, these things are fast, and have high freeboard. The stern was designed to serve as a giant dock when the ships were used to carry LASH barges so it had a very flat stern, sort of like a station wagon. And, just like a station wagon, that high flat stern created a back eddy of air that brought a great deal of wind back onto the aft deck.
Those who know a little about steamboats are probably beginning to twig on the point of this story but for those who aren't well versed on steamship operations, bear with me for a little lesson in steamboat engineering. Burning heavy oil in a boiler produces a fair amount of soot. Good combustion is actually identified by what we call an "efficiency haze" coming out the stack. It means that we aren't wasting a lot of energy heating up the atmosphere above the South China Sea, just polluting it with unburned hydrocarbons. That also means soot, lots of really fine really black soot. I'm talking Buckyball dunes, not our sissy yacht generator exhaust stuff.
Large amounts of this soot collects in the maze of pipes and fins and passages that make up the gas path in a marine boiler and it's pretty good at insulating the pipes, which is a waste of heat and fuel. So, a couple of times a day we shoot a few tons of steam through strategically located nozzles at the parts of the boiler that collect soot, it's called "blowing tubes" and it uses so much steam the ship has to slow down and it creates enormous clouds of inky black soot that have to be seen to believe. Not only do we have to slow down but we coordinate with the bridge watch to turn the ship to place the wind on the side so that fallout doesn't land on deck.
Everything went well for the first week after leaving Taiwan on the return voyage. We departed Yokohama toward Seattle via the great circle which takes us above the Aleutians into the Bering Sea. As is all to common, we got nailed by a typhoon approaching the dateline and got the stuffing beat out of us. To make things more interesting, the course we had to steer to keep the ship from beating itself to death meant that changing course to keep the decks clean when blowing tubes was not a high priority for the girls in the wheelhouse.
When we could go outside again the aft deck was an interesting sight. The blue tarps covering the trawler had turned into what looked like sailboat pennants dressing the bits of string that were still attached to the hull and cradle. It wasn't until getting a little closer did the the real "oh f@^*" moment arrive. The aft deck of the boat was covered with a thick layer of carbon plaster. The interior would have felt like home to Shackleton, if snow was inky black and never melted.
There wasn't a square inch of that boat that wasn't covered with a layer of soot. It was in the bilges, under the seat cushions, in the fabric, inside the Morse cables, inside the circuit breakers, if air could reach something, it carried a cargo of microscopic spheres of carbon. The last I saw of the boat, it was offloaded into the water alongside and towed away to some unknown fate. If it is still around I know the latest owner is still wondering how the black stuff got inside the compass bowl.