Thursday, 9 June 2011

Over a barrel

I thought I would have an easier day today.  No hope.  I wanted to take advantage of being down during the week and headed up the road to pick up a couple of barrels.  I needed them to empty the bilge under the engine room which appears to be a mix of diesel and water.   I picked up a couple (they are a chemical company and are happy to sell off used ones) and was happy to find the Landrover carried 2 perfectly.  Each barrel is about 210 litres.  Big blue plastic things.

I kicked off by using my standard water submersible pump.  The pump line should raise the liquid 8 meters which would be enough to get up the stairs to the main deck.  So I move a couple of empty barrels into the ship and started to pump.  10 mins later I had 2 full barrels!!  Damn.

So back to the company and bought another 8 barrels.  These barrels are not that heavy (you can easily carry one at a time).  But of course I am 150m along the pontoon.  I realised today that I had done 10 round  trips and carried 10 barrels.  That works out like carrying one barrel of a mile and then walking back.  It was knackering.

I cut the tops off the two barrels full on the ship and moved the pump into each in turn and emptied those into the other barrels outside on the deck.  The bilge levels dropped (400 litres down) to a point where the sub pump would no longer work (too shallow).  So out with the uber vacuum.  I set it up, went and bought an extension lead and started the job.  Wow.  This thing is amazing.  The liquid in the bilge was no longer brown water at this stage but thick like chocolate milkshake.  But it did the job and by 18.30 tonight (a long 10 hour day again) the bilge was basically empty.  However the sludge is now so thick that the sub pump struggles even to move it between barrels.

Diesel is a horrible horrible liquid.  I wear plastic gloves even when I fill up the truck.   But today I was up to my elbows in the diesel mix.  What is worse is that it is amazingly slippery which is no help when trying to get quickly up the engine room stairs to check the barrels.

At the end of the day though mission accomplished.  Not just moved the liquid but did not spill a drop into the river.

Barrel at the top of engine room stairs taking the first test load from the bilge.

8 blue barrels needed to store the liquid in

Sucking out the sludge and liquid from the bilge

Big brute pipe on the right.  Sub pump on the left.

Bilge was full of sludge.  It will need to be jet washed and degreased to do the job right.

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