I’ll see your backed-up toilet, and raise you . . .

. . . an exploding maritime convenience!

Paul, Dammit!, who blogs over at Hawsepiper, tells the gruelling tale of cleaning up after the ship’s head (or toilet, for those who don’t speak nautical) exploded over the weekend.  Go read all the gory details for yourself.

When cleanup involves a Tyvek isolation suit, a respirator, a hose, and bleach by the gallon, I think we can safely say it’s rather worse than the average backed-up domestic toilet!



  1. I won't attempt any jokes, and I was either in the Navy or worked in the Naval Shipyard long enough to see the Navy change from discharging human waste over the side to storing and pumping it.

    The Navy called it, Collecting Holding and Transfer, (if my memory is right) and someone far cleverer than I renamed the system, Sewage Handling Internal Transfer. They based that on calling a spade, a spade.

    Paul deserves a pay bump.

  2. Way back in my Navy days someone, probably a yard-bird, sabataged the head by stuffing a couple hundred feet of twine into it. We were well out to sea when it clogged the line used to blow sanitaries. One of machinist mate's volunteered to go through the inspection hatch and fix it. (which is how we discovered what the problem was). Took a few hours and earned him a slew of shots from the doc and a NAM from the CO.

  3. I think I'll skip reading that, as I've already lived it, out in the middle of the Pacific on an Oliver Hazard Perry class frigate, the USS RENTZ (FFG-46). One of our toilets in the officer's head turned into an "artesian well" while the seat was occupied by LT Warren, our navigator and Ship Control Officer. The LT was less than happy. The flood spread throughout officer's country, and we all had to bunk with the Chiefs (senior NCOs in the Navy) for about a week during extensive cleanup by guys in full NBC gear.

    It was vile!

    It was caused by a t-shirt stuffed down a toilet in one of the crew's berthing spaces.

    BTW, RENTZ is now on the bottom of the Pacific, in ~30,000 feet of water, sunk by 22 Hellfire missles in a SINKEX three years ago next month.

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