Yo Gasoline! <gary>


Administrator Emeritus
Mar 6, 2005
I was reading this (WOW!) and I was wondering if they still throw trash overboard, like they did back in the 70's? Surely not, right? I remember throwing big plastic bags full of anything off the fantail and seeing a trail of garbage bags leading to the horizion.

School an old sailor. I just KNOW we don't still do that! :what:
I dont know about the U.S. But other countries still throw their trash over board
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  • #3
I wish I woulda had a camera back then. I remember seeing a beautiful sunset with hundreds of trash bags floating, and we didn't think twice about it. We could only do it once we were X amount of miles from the mainland, so that first dumping was jillions of bags.
An amazing amount of crap gets dumped into our oceans.
Problem is there really is no way to keep it from happening.
some light reading: Pacific garbage patch...

I also think the submarines make some sort of a compressed bale and leave it on the ocean floor.
With the scarcity of oil, it wont be long before they're netting in all that plastic and using thermal depolymerisation to recover the oil.
Ed, I never feel guilt about discarding aluminium, or plastics-when it becomes economically viable people will mine the landfills, but re. scarcity of oil-there isn't any scarcity. I concede that oil reserves are finite-the whole planet is finite- but we have enough oil to continue as we are for a very long time.
To answer your question Butch, yes we do still dump trash. You've got to be I think 90 miles off shore, but you'll hear, "now all E-5 and below to the fantail for trash." And there it goes-trash bags, boxes, mattresses, whatever. :(
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  • #10
Wow, that's amazing. I thought for sure that practice woulda been stopped. what about stuff like empty oil jugs and stuff? Do they chunk that overboard, too?
That I don't know. I only ever remember "dry" goods. Even though we dump trash, they're anal now about anything remotely hazmat related. It's insane the lengths they go to to properly dispose of hazmat. I guess the reckoning is that cardboard and even the bigger stuff will sink or disolve.
Tis true G. It's international law, that for each set distance you can legally dump certain things. I don't know them off the top of my head, but it's something like 0-10 miles offshore is no dumping, 10-20 is glass, wood and paper....and so on.
You are correct about dumping "everything" overboard back in the day. We dumped paint cans, paint brushes, clothes, oily rags, office chairs, desks, file cabinets, old tool chests, drop tanks, aircraft canopies, mops, mop buckets, you name it... it went over the side. Including tons upon tons of plastics and non-biodegradeables.

Nowadays they have to sort the trash and pick out all plastics and oily products. The ships have big oven type lookin' machines that take all the plastics and melt them down into big "pucks" for storage until the ship comes ashore and can offload them.

However... the ships still dump all paper, metals, and anything deemed by the US Navy to be biodegradeable over the side. All the floor stripper, waxes, and cleaners are now biodegradeable so they can be chucked over the side.

So when the trash dumping detail is set... they spread huge tarps in the hangar bay, and each division has to send their share of people down to help sort trash. Also good detail for the restricted sailors as well. After the trash is sorted, the stuff that is to go over the side, is rebagged in huge biodegradeable paper bags and hucked over the fantail... This is overseen by the XO (Executive Officer), who will be on scene with the Master At Arms (Ship's Police) to inspect what goes over the side. It is an offense punishable by the UCMJ (Uniform Code of Military Justice) for tossing any non-biodegradeable item over the side. It is taken very, very seriously. As it should be.

Everything that is plastic or styrofoam is sent to the plastic ovens... anything else that cannot be sent over the side, is stored in the aft hangar bay in huge tri-wall cardboard containers for offload when the ship comes in to port.

Times have changed the way the US Navy does it... but we still dump trash over the side...

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  • #15
Ya'll sort it? Man, that's some shitty duty I bet! We just threw EVERYTHING overboard with no supervision other than the sponson watch. Poke holes in the plastic bag and chunk em.
Yup... sorted.

I did it like you did... poke holes in the plastic bags and toss it.

Plus anything that wouldn't sink... we would put junk in the bags to make it sink...

Those were the days... of mass ocean polluting...

We don't have the puck makin' incinerators. 180 people (our biggest boat!) don't make a fraction of the trash a carrier does, so trash for us isn't nearly as much of an orchestrated event. Tossable stuff goes in one pile, non-tossable goes in another. Get so far out, and the bio-degradable stuff goes over. But we do store up all the crap we can't dump in big nets on the fantail until we pull in, then it's the first order of business for the non-rates to offload it before getting any libo.