The increase in container and Ro-Ro trades has, to some extent, brought about the demise of the conventional ‘reefer ‘ ship (one that was dedicated to carry refrigerated and chilled cargoes in its main cargo-carrying compartments), the compartments being constructed with insulation to act as very large giant refrigerators. Some of these vessels still operate, particularly in the ‘Banana Trade’, but generally the cost of handling cargoes into reefer ships has become uneconomic.
Refrigerated cargoes mainly fall into the category of foodstuffs by way of meat, dairy products, fruit, poultry, etc. as a high degree of cleanliness is expected throughout the cargo compartments. Prior to loading such products, the spaces are often surveyed and in virtually every case pre-cooling of dunnage and handling gear has to be carried out. Bilge bays must be cleaned out and sweetened, and the suctions tested to satisfaction. Brine traps should also be cleaned and refilled, brine traps serving a dual purpose by preventing cold air reaching the bilge areas and so freezing any residual water while at the same time preventing odours from the bilges reaching into cargo compartments.
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