Iron ore is heavy and hard to transport. But at some points in the production process, the ore often ends up as a sort of "sand", and if you mix it with water you can get a slurry. Sometimes iron ore is transported by pipeline, and one thing you can do (and is done not infrequently) is pump the ore slurry into a ship, drain the water, and then sail to another port, pump water back in, pump the slurry back to shore, and repeat.
If for some reason you can't drain the water (due to equipment failure or running out of time due to an approaching storm), and leave port with a cargo full of ore slurry, then as the ship rocks back and forth, waves can deposit more and more iron sand on one side of the ship, causing a gradually increasing list. And of course, once you've got a list, gravity brings more and more iron sand to the lower side, increasing the list. The report downplays it a bit, but in the linked case the ship was quite close to just flipping upside down and sinking by the time they made it to shelter.
An interesting reversal of the issue in the original link, since rather than dry cargo becoming inadvertently liquefied, here the cargo started liquefied, but was incorrectly not de-liquefied.
Amusingly, while trying to find the report to refresh my memory, I found the same ship had ANOTHER incident with the same cargo two years later: https://www.taic.org.nz/inquiry/mo-2009-210
Liquefied cargo is oddly dangerous.
> “At the microscopic level, the protein cubes were solid food particles suspended in thick vegetable oil. The food particles compressed to less than half their original size, but the oil was barely affected at all. This changed the volume ratio of solid to liquid dramatically, which in turn made the aggregate act as a liquid. Known as “liquefaction,” this process transformed the protein cubes from a steady solid into a flowing sludge.”
Liquefaction under the normal pressure of a building's weight can also be a problem, and may have contributed to the notorious sinking of the (also in SoMa) Millennium Tower.
Awareness of the dangers of liquefaction in Japan was kickstarted by buildings that tipped over in an earthquake in Niigata in 1964 . A video showing many vivid examples of liquefaction after the big 2011 earthquake is at .
My family and I lived for more than a decade in a high-rise apartment building on a landfill island near the Tokyo waterfront, and the risk of soil liquefaction in a major earthquake was never far from my mind. We now live in Yokohama on a hill that is marked on the maps as relatively safe , but most of the nearby stores and train stations are in high-risk areas.
That is, using a sequence of explosive charges to improve soil compaction by breaking bonds and driving out latent water content. It triggers a cycle of liquefaction and then compaction afterwards.
This is really sad. Millions of dollars worth of cargo, and yet they put the lives of the sailors at such risk.
The other issue with port regulations is that they aren't really enforced except to provide an (bribery) income for the port master.
I've heard a number of stories of some ports that effectively require bribery to get your ship cleared. If the ship captain elects for the actual inspection instead, the port master will intentionally delay the ship for weeks.
The regulations I am talking about are immigration restrictions. If people from poorer countries could migrate freely to more productive countries, they could be more picky about which jobs to accept.
And unlike any particular (safety) regulation that can be gamed easily, it's much harder to game your employees' demands when they have good outside options.
Given those pro-capitalist beginnings, the site has drifted relentlessly leftwards over time.
Libertarians don’t want non-existent governments as the highest priority. The key priority is using markets to determine prices and a critical part of that is being able to enforce property rights. A big government focused on enforcing those rights is completely supported by libertarians.
I was suggesting that if you want to help workers, you need to give them access to better outside options.
> The following email exchanges occurred on the 24th December between the Company ship manager and the Master stating “Since the cargo is very wet, would suggest to do Can testing as per IMSBC code. Although not listed in appendix A, it is better to be cautious.” In reply, the master wrote, “what do you mean by testing procedure please clarify."
Ship's master, who is responsible for the proper loading and safety of the ship, does not know how about how to test for moisture content. How is this possible? Is this the best they could find to watch over that big, expensive ship?
Around the clock for 40 years now.
Liquefication is so common it's no surprise any more.
Well, the vessels I work have cargoes like alcohol, acetone, paint thinner, etc ;)
These ships have 3 to 5 or more compartments separating the cargo from port to stbd and about a dozen from bow to stern. In addition to ballast tanks etc. So the constant liquid movement does not produce the instability that can occur in a solid-cargo ship having only a single compartment between the port & stbd.
Solid cargoes I normally do not do, except sometimes when an asphalt gets logged in.
I must say I usually find no fault, nope, no fault at all.
But, and it's a big but, when things don't go exactly as planned the scale can be somewhat overwhelming.
At the begining I did on-board measurement for a year before earning a premier port laboratory.
I almost never go to the docks any more unless it's really serious, the cargo surveyors just bring the official samples in. So I still know how it is.
Anyway, one time way back then I was loading a number of chemicals onto a multi-grade ship and the acrylonitrile had some stowage in a couple deck tanks in addition to some normal compartments. Deck tanks as the name implies look like (sometimes are) rail cars without wheels, welded to the deck in spots.
Now this monomer is an organic cyanide derivative which is a lot nastier than your everyday benzene or methanol. Just as flammable, more sickening. And we got to sample it when the movement is 95 percent complete. Normally you would be looking down into a hatch at your reflection in tonnes of product, but a deck tank you must climb.
I get up there and the tank is just starting to overflow, acrylo is everywhere, they had failed to slow down enough for the smaller tanks so it was pouring down the sides and running down the deck.
Instinct kicked in and I quickly filled my bottles by hand, got out of there and let them have their incident to themselves for a few hours before they called us back to calculate the losses.
Another time we had loaded 3,000 tonnes of (flammable) para-xylene so there was a lot of samples and I left mine on the deck when I went into the deckhouse. After doing all the paperwork we went out the other door and those were not my samples so we had to go back the other way. Just inside the doorway in the last office there was a small trashcan fire just getting started where someone had thrown a butt on their way out.
My partner stomped on it and his foot almost caught on fire, then we ran with the wastebasket into a laundry room and filled it with water.
Nobody noticed, we had to go and find the Chief Mate and inform him how we saved his ship. He gave us each a bottle of liquor.
And these both happened in Texas City, location of the deadly Texas City Disaster:
Technical office workers (programmers are some of the worst about this) tend to have this idea that everything is done consistently and perfectly all the time. In reality everything's done by humans and it isn't done perfectly pretty often. But because the cleanup is also done by humans the failures are mostly handled near where they happen rather than being sent through the system so you don't get failure modes like one piece of software that chokes on a config doesn't bring down a noticeable fraction of the internet.
(not to say that the article doesn't make the same implication)
It's impossible to tell from such a brief exchange whether the guy was fishing for them to tell him exactly what to do or was genuinely unaware. "If you want something non-standard you need to spell out exactly what you want so my ass is covered when you're not satisfied" is not exactly an uncommon response to a request for something that isn't SOP.
Sometimes the cargo liquefies for a short period when shocked, then stops flowing. This would cause the ship to list as the cargo takes a new shape.
Hard to debug is when the problem causes ships to be lost with all hands. Think in terms of early planes flying into cloud cover and reliably spiraling to crash.
Surely containers would be safer from the issues described such as liquifaction, but the costs probably prevent the shippers from adopting them. Besides, it's no skin off their back and they'rr insured anyway, right? /s
* (to the extent there even is such a thing as "real" and "not real" word)
Then there's the matter of rational and irrational words.