"The containers on the stern were the first to be taken off after the oil had been removed. Refrigerated containers were particularly dangerous as the meat had decomposed so badly, methane gas virtually exploded the containers, and all the carcases, meat and stuff inside, dropped onto the decks of the barges. It is considered a "bio-hazard" and is very, very smelly. You can smell it three miles away. some containers we put on have maggots dripping out the doors. How they got in there, who knows..
We have a big barge, ST-60 anchored to the stern of the ship. The crushed containers mostly have to be taken out in bits, and the rotten insides, sometimes end up on the aft of the ship where the stink and problem of removing it all start.
When the weather is really good, we can lift five stacks a time. Our best is 17 in one day, and the worst 1.
When the container crushes (like the above which is only a third it's original 40' size) rotten meat litters the work area. At the hull touch on the reef, the ship has a complete split right around and is only just hanging on by small bits.
Once have filled the barge, we set sail for home. Recently we've started to tandem tow, which gives us about 2 1/2 hours to the docks in Tauranga. The tidal flow is quite challenging at a flow rate of up too 4kts. We can only work in a limited window for exits but mostly inbound trips. We need a pilot on each in and out. If we don't tandem, it takes us about 4 hours.
Cheese, pies, filled rolls and milk often are found floating past in the diesel."
The crane barge 'Smit Borneo' has arrived at the Port of Tauranga, and with her larger and more stable platform will become 'home' to the Salvors for the foreseable future.
The Antipodean Mariner