Clay Maitland

On a quest for quality in shipping

Remembrance of things past

My habit of studying oil spill problems has reminded me of something different: a note to our British contributors. I’ve been meaning to send it, but something always comes up these days, and here at last is my end-of-year comment.

On January 15, 1942, before even I was born, the British tanker COIMBRA was lost to enemy action off Moriches Inlet, Long Island, New York, with heavy loss of life. Since that time, the wreck has been intermittently “burping” oil. It is one of more than 100 wrecks off the Atlantic coasts of the United States and Canada that are now the subject of possible abatement efforts, even though they have been under water for, in some cases, more than 65 years.

Some of you will say that… Continue reading

Opportunity knocks

Whatever any one thinks of the Copenhagen talks, alongside the recriminations and bad language, there has been opportunities for many people, who will see in this expansion of environmental awareness, the incentives they need to progress. Continue reading

Taxation and representation

There seems an air of increasing desperation in Copenhagen, as the Danish police call for reinforcements to beat back the armies of anti-capitalist demonstrators and assorted greens now frantically laying siege to the bizarre meeting which is attempting to save the world. Continue reading

Holes in the fence

When the Cosco Busan struck the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge on November 27, 2007, in a heavy fog, it became an exhibit in the ongoing debate about the importance of crew qualifications. Continue reading

The Audit Scheme – an IMO success story

As I was sitting in the back of the main conference room at IMO two weeks ago, a fellow delegate leaned over and said; “Every so often, something happens here that is really important.” Continue reading

Ships in the shop window

There was a certain grim pathos in a picture taken from the shores of Scotland’s Loch Striven, where half a dozen of Maersk’s finest containerships are rafted up together, with not a container in sight.

These are some of the fastest babies in the business, 4,200 teu apiece, but their only function for the foreseeable future is to afford a useful perch for seagulls and gather guano on the acres of steel decks, while annoying the inhabitants of the lochside villages inordinately, with the noise of their generators and bright lights.

What can you do with a flotilla of express ships, at a time when everyone is boasting

Is insurance the right solution to piracy?

THE shipping industry, as we know, likes a challenge. From the first owner who reckoned he could make another buck carrying more of something more quickly than had been possible before, to the one who thought that carrying ore in one direction and oil in the other was a sure-fire winner, it’s an industry of entrepreneurs. Continue reading

Where Washington leads others follow

During the IMO assembly meeting last month, Secretary-General Mitropoulos made a plea for uniform solutions, arrived at internationally, through a process of collective agreement. In the field of oil pollution legislation – always politically sensitive – this is perhaps wishful thinking. Particularly in the United States. Continue reading

Contradictions at Copenhagen

Copenhagen 15 rumbles on, with a good Saturday out in the Danish capital being one of the 900 people arrested by the local constabulary for throwing paving stones at the stock exchange. It’s a sign of progress that in countries where cobbles have been phased out for Tarmacadam, it is infinitely harder for protesters to make a point. But let’s not go down this road! Continue reading

The Other Human Element in shipping

When shipping gurus, or guru wannabes, gather, we often speak of the “human element.”

This is understood to be the merchant seafarers who are, as is well known, often in short supply these days. There is, however, another “human dimension,” one that we often forget. Continue reading

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