shot on 16mm and video
SCRAP VESSEL documents the last trip of the Hari Funafuti (formerly the Bulk Promotor and Hupohai – which means ‘Amber Ocean’), a cargo ship on its way to be scrapped. With a languid atmosphere using the massive ship like a landscape, the film explores what is found inside from the Hupohai’s communist past, onwards through an unseen attack by pirates and onto a distant beach and glowing ironworks factory, until the ship becomes a phantom.
In 1973 the freighter ship, Bulk Promotor, is built by Norway to transport coal and iron ore throughout Northern Europe. In 1985 the ship is sold to mainland China. Renamed Hupohai, it is used to distribute coal along the Yangtze River. Thirty-two years into the ship’s life, now called the Hari Funafuti, we board the vessel in Singapore on its final journey to Bangladesh.
Filmmaker Jason Byrne boarded the ship with fellow cameraman Theron Patterson in Singapore. They documented the journey on 16mm film and video, exploring the huge vessel top to bottom, finding scraps of its past crew including photos and 16mm motion picture communist propaganda. Filming the ship’s destruction on the beach in Bangladesh, they continued with its pieces to the Ali Rolling Mill in Chittagong, where the scraps were melted down.
The ship is completely gone now, but various artifacts were saved by Byrne, including the blueprints, safety posters, some of the 16mm film footage, photos of the original crew, a diary kept by a crew member, and a cassette tape of the captain’s favorite music.
photo found on the boat: