Ballast

Tracing the human stories generated by the things which skippers loaded in their vessels to ensure the ships' stability once their paying cargoes had been unloaded, and the people, plants and wildlife that travelled with them.

Generations of sailors have had to understand how to shift ballast to keep their vessels stable.

Wrongly loaded ballast means disaster.

But the cargoes of ballast have had some remarkable side effects at ports around the world.

There are the homes built from 'foreign' materials or the islands created by debris dropped in estuaries which now house foreign plant species.

There are the pollution problems caused by thousands of species being moved around the world in a single day in water ballast on tankers.

And there are the remarkable stories of how skippers loaded human ballast and charged people to live in the holds on hazardous journeys.

Episodes

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010120050822

Tracing the human stories generated by the things which skippers loaded in their vessels to ensure the ships' stability once their paying cargoes had been unloaded, and the people, plants and wildlife that travelled with them.

Generations of sailors have had to understand how to shift ballast to keep their vessels stable.

Wrongly loaded ballast means disaster.

But the cargoes of ballast have had some remarkable side effects at ports around the world.

There are the homes built from 'foreign' materials or the islands created by debris dropped in estuaries which now house foreign plant species.

There are the pollution problems caused by thousands of species being moved around the world in a single day in water ballast on tankers.

And there are the remarkable stories of how skippers loaded human ballast and charged people to live in the holds on hazardous journeys.Sand, concrete, iron wheels, railway tracks and bird droppings - on board The Vigilance, a Brixham sailing trawler in Torbay, sailors tell how ballast is crucial to safety at sea.

010120050822

Tracing the human stories generated by the things which skippers loaded in their vessels to ensure the ships' stability once their paying cargoes had been unloaded, and the people, plants and wildlife that travelled with them.

Generations of sailors have had to understand how to shift ballast to keep their vessels stable.

Wrongly loaded ballast means disaster.

But the cargoes of ballast have had some remarkable side effects at ports around the world.

There are the homes built from 'foreign' materials or the islands created by debris dropped in estuaries which now house foreign plant species.

There are the pollution problems caused by thousands of species being moved around the world in a single day in water ballast on tankers.

And there are the remarkable stories of how skippers loaded human ballast and charged people to live in the holds on hazardous journeys.Sand, concrete, iron wheels, railway tracks and bird droppings - on board The Vigilance, a Brixham sailing trawler in Torbay, sailors tell how ballast is crucial to safety at sea.

010220050823

Do the buildings in ports tell a story about the trade plied from their quays? In Cardiff there's the church built with stone brought back from around the world.

010220050823

Do the buildings in ports tell a story about the trade plied from their quays? In Cardiff there's the church built with stone brought back from around the world.

010320050824

"Captains find it easier to ship and unship this living ballast than one of lime or shingle".

How Irish families were packed into the holds of freighters to escape the famine.

010320050824

"Captains find it easier to ship and unship this living ballast than one of lime or shingle".

How Irish families were packed into the holds of freighters to escape the famine.

010420050825

In Porthmadog harbour in Gwynedd sits Cei Ballast, built from the stones, sand and earth which arrived in the otherwise empty holds of ships which had carried slate around the world.

What's left in the rocks and plants to tell that story?

010420050825

In Porthmadog harbour in Gwynedd sits Cei Ballast, built from the stones, sand and earth which arrived in the otherwise empty holds of ships which had carried slate around the world.

What's left in the rocks and plants to tell that story?

0105 LAST20050826

Millions of gallons of water used as ballast on modern ships move around the world every day, but sometimes the small creatures which hitch a lift in the tanks can have a devastating effect on their new home.

0105 LAST20050826

Millions of gallons of water used as ballast on modern ships move around the world every day, but sometimes the small creatures which hitch a lift in the tanks can have a devastating effect on their new home.