Marketed as a miracle cream version of Botox that relies on peptid technology (which helps photo-aged skin and is claimed to perform better than vitamin C or retinol), Strivectin was originally used to improve the appearance of stretchmarks. Although no cream can relax wrinkles away, there is some evidence that Strivectin may help prevent new lines forming and reduce the deepness of existing wrinkles.


 First was the steam clean: boiling hot water was blasted into the empty tank through big heavy hoses, six inches in diameter, on the end of which were huge brass spinning nozzles, which sprayed the boiling water at high pressure onto the tank walls. We had to lug these scalding hot hoses across the deck, lower them down, four to a tank, leave them for 30 minutes or so, then lower them further, wait 30 minutes, lower them further, and so on. When a tank was declared done, we heaved everything up on deck and moved the whole apparatus to the next tank to start again. The water blasted in from the hoses was pumped over the side as it collected in the bottom of the tank, whereas the thick oily residue, which floated on the surface because it was lighter than the water, was pumped to the slop tank, a permanently filthy place that was pumped ashore when we reached Singapore. The next stage was the venting. Big air-driven fans were attached to manhole covers to suck up the poisonous air from the tank. We turned off the fans at regular intervals and tested the air with an oxygen monitor that we lowered into the depths, waiting until the readings indicated the tank was fit and safe for human descent. Then came the worst part. Clad in boiler suits, hard hats and wearing rubber gloves, we descended into the hell of the tank, all the way to the bottom, where, in between the frames, there was a foot of thick black hot oil sludge. We used scoops to shovel it into buckets that were lowered from the deck; when the buckets were full we yanked on the rope.

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