Clay Maitland

On a quest for quality in shipping

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 kept on; good people won’t stay if they are being snubbed.”

To view the webcast, go to:

The purpose of the Merchant Marine Policy Coalition (MMPC) is to ensure the future of the United States Flag Merchant Marine through the development of a “think tank” which will convene regularly at meetings, dinners and roundtable sessions.  This group is designed to be a non-profit, educational group, but not a lobbying organization.  For more information, go to

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 skluss

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 skluss

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

Sea Fever

By Michael Grey

Posted on | June 16, 2014 | No Comments

For somebody who wandered around the world’s oceans without a care in the world some 40 years ago, it is worth considering how very hazardous they have become. Sure, nobody of my generation had to contend with U-boats, either then or now, but the sheer volume of nastiness that there is afloat today sometimes takes the breath away. Pirates seem fewer in the Indian Ocean, but seafarers still have to be on their guard, still wreathed in razor wire, accompanied by armed guards and rehearsing the mad dash to the citadel, should the blighters be sighted. Sea trade shouldn’t be like this in the 21st century. In the waters of south east Asia the pirates seem to have graduated from stealing Amex cards and the contents of the ship’s safe, to… Continue reading

Speak your weight!

By Michael Grey

Posted on | June 8, 2014 | No Comments

The road safety authorities in the Netherlands have a map of their country’s road system, upon which are marked the serious accidents which have taken place when containers, either overweight or inexpertly loaded, have fallen off trucks as they drove around corners or negotiated roundabouts. The German authorities, they say have the same sort of pictorial track of their accidents and joined up, provide a grim catalogue of bad practice stretching all the way into Eastern Europe. What this perfectly illustrates is the obvious truth that while it is important that people loading containers onto ships need to have verifiable and reliable weights to hand, by the time these boxes arrive at the terminal gates it is already far too late. Last week saw this being emphasised by the European Sea… Continue reading

An Atlantic Tragedy

By Michael Grey

Posted on | May 28, 2014 | No Comments

The sad end of the yacht Cheeki Rafiki and the death of her four crew, in the cold Atlantic Ocean, touched a lot of hearts around the world. Nobody can fault the humanity and persistence of the US Coast Guard, which kept on looking for the yachtsmen, long after there really was any hope. There has been a commendable lack of people seeking to blame others for the tragedy, although there was some professional surprise that the containership which first found the upturned hull was released to continue her voyage. Is there anything to be learned from this sad business?  Something perhaps about the vulnerability of the modern yacht and its racing keel, all built for speed but which can detach with disastrous consequences? Could there be a new look taken… Continue reading
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