Clay Maitland

On a quest for quality in shipping

Hostages – lest we forget

By Michael Grey

Posted on | March 2, 2015 | No Comments

After nearly five years in the hands of Somali pirates and the longest held hostages since the plague of Indian Ocean piracy began, four Thai fishermen have finally been released. Their relatives, during this period, have been supported by the Maritime Piracy Humanitarian Response Programme* and the MPHRP will continue this assistance as the four are re-integrated into society after their ordeal.

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By Clay

Posted on | February 20, 2015 | No Comments

6th Annual Capital Link
Greek Shipping Forum
“Opportunities & Challenges”

Tuesday, February 24, 2015 – Athens, Greece

When I chose this title, along with Nic Bornozis, I might have been thought to be drunk or crazy. It is, after all, hard to find one, let alone ten, such “signs”.

There is an old saying: “if you seek a sign, look to the heavens”.

Well, I’ve tried looking everywhere else, with mixed success.

Certainly, we in this industry have been assailed by what the bible calls “job’s messengers”, or false hopes.

These are therefore hard times also for Chinese ports, Norwegian offshore shipowners and us investors.     Just to name three categories.

Recently, the Baltic Dry Index (BDI) put a number on the… Continue reading

First principles

By Michael Grey

Posted on | February 17, 2015 | 1 Comment

On my first voyage, the single radar had its controls behind a small lockable shutter, the key of which was in the master’s sole possession. On the onset of fog, the officer of the watch would then have to apply to the master to unlock the machine, which would then be warmed up and put into use, by which time the visibility was probably nil. This, said the master, was to prevent an undue reliance being placed on this new equipment, to the neglect of first principles for keeping a proper look-out. It was just an “aid” to navigation, which must be carried out by “lead, log and look-out”.
On another fleet on that same trade to Australia and New Zealand, the ships were then without radar, its fearsome proprietor… Continue reading

Banged to rights?

By Michael Grey

Posted on | February 12, 2015 | No Comments

After a trial which has lasted (if the extensive intervals are taken into account) some 18 months, an Italian court has judged Captain Francisco Schettino, guilty of the multiple manslaughter of the 32 people who lost their lives after the stranding of the Costa Concordia.

Was the master a scapegoat, as he tearfully asserted in his final appeal to the judges, who would later pronounce sentence of 16 years imprisonment upon him? Was it not a failure of the entire bridge team who should have been capable of keeping their huge ship with 4300 souls embarked clear of the rocks?

For the layman, it might seem difficult to conclude anything other than justice has been done and the miscreant master lucky indeed not to have been given the… Continue reading

Were you being served?

By Michael Grey

Posted on | February 4, 2015 | No Comments

We seem to have come a long way from old ideas of ships being regarded as the “customers” of ports and terminals. Nowadays it is the ship which tends to be told what to do and when to do it, the master being given a hard time if he does not snap to attention to the instructions of the powerful officials who swarm aboard.

There are probably many bulk terminals around the world which are pure pleasure to be alongside, but correspondingly, others where departure will occasion only a feeling of relief among the ship’s staff.

BIMCO is encouraging its members who operate dry bulk carriers to have their ship staff complete a brief “satisfaction” survey when they depart loading or discharging terminals, as part of a scheme… Continue reading

Wellness helps afloat

By Michael Grey

Posted on | January 30, 2015 | No Comments

Everyone by now knows about the connection between the human element – seafarers, in real language – and safety. What we perhaps do not know sufficiently about is the way in which human performance and an ability to do one’s job efficiently and well is influenced by health and, in particular mental health. If somebody aboard ship is miserably unhappy, for whatever reason, it is more than likely that their work will be affected. With small crews, people keeping watch more or less alone, retreating into their cabins when not working, the likelihood of such problems going unrecognised is obviously greater.

Social isolation, perhaps caused by language difficulties, bad news or worry about problems at home (the internet sometimes being a mixed blessing) have all been recognised as problems… Continue reading

Steady state of blame

By Michael Grey

Posted on | January 23, 2015 | No Comments

If nothing else, the flurry of maritime accidents around the New Year served to remind people in the industry, as much as the general public, that there is a lot needs doing to make shipping rather safer. Tor Svensen of DNV-GL was speaking about these problems just recently, reminding us that 2000 people die at sea every year and serious accidents are on a level basis, or even slightly increasing, with about 100 total losses every year.

Nobody ever stops talking about the need to improve marine safety, from the Secretary-General of the IMO downwards, but there is a distinct lack of real improvement. As Tor Svensen observed, there is always plenty of focus on safety, with public demands for improvement , regulatory pressures and new technologies available to… Continue reading

Maritime TV’s ‘Mondays with Maitland’ – Working with Congress to Insure Seafarers’ Port Access Rights are Respected at U.S. port terminals

By Clay

Posted on | January 21, 2015 | No Comments

In this 37th interview in the series, Clay discusses the need to make sure seafarers’ port access rights are respected while they’re on ships calling on U.S. port terminals, especially as it relates to Section 811 of the Coast Guard Authorization Act legislation. He also discusses his involvement with the North American Maritime Ministry Association (NAMMA) which is working to support this legislation… Continue reading

Safe ports in wild weather

By Michael Grey

Posted on | January 13, 2015 | No Comments

The title of “biggest containership in the world” is changing rapidly at present, with a queue of giant vessels leaving far eastern shipyards and loading their maiden cargoes. Members of the public have been able, care of the media, to marvel at the CSCL Globe , which has been on her maiden north European rotation and has been making headlines wherever she arrives. It is good to have these positive pictures of shipping, after too many of the opposite recently, what with death and disaster elsewhere in the world.

There is, however a lot of challenges represented in handling these “mega” ships, as has been evident recently with a string of severe storms tracking across the North Atlantic to test European sea defences. Not for the first time, very… Continue reading

Maritime TV’s ‘Mondays with Maitland’ – Clay’s perspective on the lessons learned from the MOL Comfort sinking and subsequent lawsuit.

By Clay

Posted on | January 12, 2015 | No Comments

In this 36th interview in the series, Clay discusses the issues surrounding the June 2013 MOL Comfort sinking after it was announced last month that claims against Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) for the loss of the ship are now amounting to over $500m, with more than 100 claimants joining the Tokyo court legal action headed by Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL). Clay points to certain classification societies and shipyards in assessing responsibility for disasters like these, but stresses the complexity involved in addressing the problem… Continue reading

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