Clay Maitland

On a quest for quality in shipping

Ash Readiness?

By Michael Grey

Posted on | August 26, 2014 | No Comments

There are warning signals emanating from Iceland where, under a glacier, another volcano with an unpronounceable name is showing signs of violent activity. Many of us will have memories of the extraordinary confusion caused in the aviation industry by the last emanations of Icelandic ash, a couple of years go. Those caught abroad while aviation came to a halt still dine out happily, boring their hosts with their accounts of how they made it home, even though it took many days and several different modes of transport.
It is worth recalling the contribution of the ferries to this emergency, aided and abetted by the odd cruise ship pressed into service and the useful if unexpected revenue stream these ship operators discovered, as people accustomed to aeroplanes found that there were other alternatives (albeit a bit crowded).
This time around the ship operators ought to be a bit quicker off the mark – even dare we say it in anticipating the effusions of magma – and subtly suggesting that people shouldn’t take the risks of aviation in ash-strewn skies, and travel by ship instead. They should also ensure maximum availability of vessels, just in case, recalling that a Plan B is never entirely wasted in these uncertain times.

Yielding, not cracking

By Michael Grey

Posted on | August 18, 2014 | No Comments

Years ago a former shipmate in command of a big channel ferry said that what would make his life inestimably easier would be if naval architects could incorporate a wide belt of rubber around the bows of his ship. This he said would enable him to approach the berth with much more confidence and speed, instead of worrying about the consequences should the pitch controls stick or there be a small miscalculation of his distance off. Ideally he would have opted for a sort of supersize Rigid Inflatable structure, although he recognised the limitations this might have for a drive-through ferry. It is just that his thick steel belting was somewhat unyielding for a ship that he was berthing several times a day. My friend is now retired but… Continue reading

Maritime TV’s ‘Mondays with Maitland’ – A Call for a National Maritime Education Conference in 2015 in DC

By Clay

Posted on | July 28, 2014 | No Comments

In this 19th interview in the series, Clay Maitland discusses importance of fostering communication between maritime educational professionals in this country, from the maritime high schools and vocational schools though the union institutions and the maritime academies, to compare notes on curricula and interface with industry. He proposes a large-scale National Maritime Education Conference to be held in Washington D.C. in the September-October 2015 timeframe… Continue reading

Merchant Marine Policy Coalition Applauds MARAD Administrator Confirmation

By Clay

Posted on | July 21, 2014 | No Comments

The Chairman of the Merchant Marine Policy Coalition (MMPC), Clay Maitland, today applauded the Senate confirmation of MARAD Administrator Paul ‘Chip’ Jaenichen.  Stating that this confirmation is “Well deserved and long overdue”, Maitland congratulated Jaenichen and wished him well on the ambitious and necessary work that lies before him. Coincident to Tuesday’s news, Maitland had released a webcast on Monday calling for the confirmation.  “Congress has been relaxed on taking a position on maritime policy. With Russia, the South China Sea, the Middle East and more, we are facing global challenges analogous to the late 1930’s.  We need a strong US flag merchant marine to provide sealift capability.  Chip has been leading this effort.  He must be confirmed and

They don’t come much bigger……

By Michael Grey

Posted on | July 21, 2014 | No Comments

Looking at the time lapse video of the gradual refloating of the Costa Concordia with the wrecked ship being towed just clear of the site, one can only be lost in admiration at what the salvors have accomplished. It does however suggest that there is probably no wreck likely to happen in the future which cannot (always supposing the insurers are paying and the chequebook remains open) be taken away! There is another interesting aspect to this astonishing salvage and “recovery” operation, in that the eventual destination of the wreck in the Port of Genoa might be considered a “place of refuge”. Assuming that the operation is successful and the vessel delivered to a place of safety and the subsequent recyclers, it might suggest a route that can perhaps be followed… Continue reading

Hope and Anchor

By Michael Grey

Posted on | July 10, 2014 | No Comments

It was some years ago that an archaeological expedition in the eastern Mediterranean fished up an anchor that was dated to around 200AD. With primitive flukes and a stock, it had more than a passing resemblance to those used on merchant ships 1800 years later. Rather than suggesting how advanced Roman technology was in those days, this does not exactly reflect favourably on the advances in anchoring techniques , since that ancient ship lost her anchor. Dragging anchor, as any P&I risk manager will tell you, is one of the major reasons why ships go ashore and the lack of any great advances in anchoring equipment might be identified as a contributor. Ships have got bigger, offer more windage, but anchor design has largely remained static. It is… Continue reading

The fish is off

By Michael Grey

Posted on | July 2, 2014 | No Comments

It is a question I have often asked. How, now you have ships crewed by one man and a dog, what happens when the man – or the dog, for that matter- is taken ill and cannot turn to? It reminds me of a time when I, as the second mate, was attacked by a duff mutton pie in Glasgow and for 24 hours, thought I was about to die. The Chief Officer, who was a dayworker in our well-manned ships, took over my job, with only a little muttering about malingerers. Or the time on the NZ coast when the Chief Officer was taken ashore for three weeks with a severe attack of piles, with the other three of us advancing one up in our ranks and… Continue reading

Maritime TV’s ‘Mondays with Maitland’- The Importance of Passing the Coast Guard Authorization Bill Now

By Clay

Posted on | June 30, 2014 | No Comments

In this fifteenth interview in the series, Maitland discusses the importance of passing the U.S. Coast Guard Authorization Bill, currently held up in the U.S. Senate over the cargo preference provision… Continue reading

Interview with Clay Maitland, NAMEPA – Posidonia 2014

By Clay

Posted on | June 26, 2014 | No Comments

The pirate navigator

By Michael Grey

Posted on | June 25, 2014 | No Comments

Talk to any pilot these days and you will hear some tales to make your hair stand on end about the curious forms of navigation being practised aboard many of the ships they see in and out of port. Interesting comparisons are made possible between the ship’s electronic chart display and the pilot’s personal portable pilot unit, which can reveal that the ship appears to be several miles inland, or proceeding down channels which have yet to be excavated. Worrying revelations emerge from accident investigations, which tell the world that the ship would be normally navigated using the master’s laptop, upon which was some software purporting to be a current chart, and which he bought from a man he met in a bar in Bremen. Pilots due to take big ships… Continue reading
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