Sunday, April 15, 2007

Belching out black smoke

If you drive a car in the Republic of Ireland (and most EU countries) you have to have your vehicle tested every two years for safety, equipment, lights, and carbon emissions. The government requires it to be done and you're legally obliged to have a National Car Test (NCT) certificate once the car is two years old or more.

I wish it applied to ships too, especially those of the Irish Naval Service.

A few days ago I saw a pall of thick black smoke over the harbour near Haulbowline Island where the Naval Service is based (in most other countries it's called the navy, but not here). Then I noticed one of the naval ships about a half mile ahead of the smoke and I soon saw that it was the source of the smoke. The smoke was so black and thick that I couldn't make out which naval ship it was, but I could see by its stern that it was one of the older ones which have a rounded stern whereas the newer ones have a flat transom. It was probably the 27 year old L.E. Emer or Aoife.

Honestly the smoke looked like it came from the old days of coal fired boilers. Obviously all powered ships (unless they are electric or solar powered) give off a certain amount of smoke, but this was ridiculous and the black pall hovered over the harbour for half an hour after the ship had gone because it was a flat-calm, windless day.

If I have to service my car then the navy, sorry, naval service should do the same. Get them ships serviced boys.

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