Tapioca Time Bomb
A Swiss freighter carrying tapioca nearly sank when a fire slowly cooked the cargo:
The biggest tapioca pudding in the world is cooking in the hold of a fire-swept Swiss freighter and threatening to split the vessel at its seams.
"It's like a huge tapioca time bomb," said an incredulous fire chief today as he watched the smoldering 12,165-ton Cassarate at the Cardiff docks.
Fireman earlier controlled the fire which started in timber stacked in the upper holds 25 days ago at sea. The crew kept the smoldering timber dampened until the ship docked here late [on September 12].
But the water from the Cardiff hoses seeped down to the lower holds where 1,500 tons of tapioca from Thailand were stored.
The water swelled the tapioca and the heat from the flames started to cook the sticky mess.
The swelling tapioca — enough to serve a million plates — could buckle the ship's steel plates, fire chiefs warned.
"It's got to burst somewhere," one said. "It will take dockers a couple of days to clear the smoldering lumber before we can reach the tapioca."