Clay Maitland

On a quest for quality in shipping

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 I expect he would be enthusiastic about a brand new capesize bulk carrier which has emerged from the Saijo Shipyard of Imabari Shipbuilding Co. in Japan which is protected in its most vulnerable parts by “highly ductile steel plate”. Ordered to the account of MOL, this new vessel incorporates some 3000 tonnes of Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp’s NSafe(R)-Hull steel, in a broad band around the cargo holds and bunker tanks.
This, it is claimed, will ensure “superior collision safety”, with the ship’s sides less likely to crack in the event of an untoward impact from a collision. Improved “puncture resistance” will make such a ship far less likely to suffer a catastrophic loss of buoyancy in the event of such an incident, something that has happened in the past with ore-laden bulk carriers, even of the largest size. The ductile belt extends the full length of the cargo holds, covers the bunker tanks peripheries and consists of the single skin side shell, extending above and below the levels of the topside and lower wing tanks. MOL, which has announced its new baby, says that it will absorb side impact to the hull three times more effectively than conventional steel plate.

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

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
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