Clay Maitland

On a quest for quality in shipping

Seamanship over design

A big ship lying alongside is the epitome of solidity. Anyone who is a non-seafarer, or who has not experienced the awesome power of the sea, will find it hard to contemplate that same huge ship fighting for its life in extreme weather. Continue reading

The ‘ramifications’ of training

In the run-up to the STCW Conference in Manila this June, India has proposed that there be mandatory space for training berths provided on all new ships. This will be one of the more heated issues to be discussed. Additional space to accommodate trainee cadets (which might become mandatory) is seemingly attractive, in light of the IMO’s current “Go to Sea” campaign. But there are, as is so often the case, ramifications. Continue reading

Weaving a web of education

In his New Year’s message, inaugurating 2010 as the Year of the Seafarer, Admiral Efthimios Mitropoulos, Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), identified three goals for the year: Continue reading

Let go everything aft

Mooring and unmooring is about the most labour intensive operation aboard a modern merchant ship, despite all sorts of mechanical assistance like drum-stowed ropes and constant-tension winches.

It can present too-small crews with real problems, as was evidenced from a pilot’s recent comments about a Capesize which had a perfectly adequate number of hands – but only to tie up one end of the ship at a time.

Apparently they tied up the bow, then, as the ship was held alongside in the tide by four tugs, the crew sprinted nearly a quarter mile aft to start hurling the sternlines ashore. Speed over the ground was as important as seamanship on this lean-manned vessel, which, he pointed out, was by no means unique.

But accidents can happen… Continue reading

Mixed signals over Loran-C

THE decision by the US Coast Guard to begin turning off the Loran-C navigation signal from February 8 is as unexpected as it is illogical. And it coincidently sends all the wrong kind of signals about navigation strategy. Continue reading

Shocked and ashamed by training ‘deficiencies’

Experience has taught us that most casualties are cause by a human agency. It is possible that we need to train seafarers to handle different tasks in a different way. The use of lifesaving equipment is one example. Continue reading

Keep the comments coming

Whilst this blogging game is pretty new to me, I have been delighted to see the growing number of comments that have come from serving Masters and seafarers and welcome further response in addition to the comments we have already received.

One of our objectives is to encourage discussion of maritime safety and training of seafarers, and the best way to do this is to communicate with all of you on a daily basis. To enhance training advocacy, we need your input. Keep it coming! Continue reading

Webinar round-up

Despite a couple of minor technical glitches, the CapitalLink webinar produced a lively debate on Tuesday.

One question asked about how bankers and other stakeholders could engage with senior sea staff, and discussed what one caller referred to as “the invisible aspects of shipping.” Continue reading

New thinking on people

“It is a sad indicator that there is a need to introduce a Maritime Labour Convention that, in the main, deals with the basic employment rights of a seafarer and his living conditions on board. Is that as far as we have come……” Captain Robert Ferguson, of Gulf Energy Maritime, who wrote these words in the latest Nautical Institute’s International Maritime Human Element Bulletin Alert! probably makes many of his readers feel a little uncomfortable.

He points out that if a shipowner wants to sleep well at night and not worry about what on earth might be happening to his ship, it is attention to the human element that will provide this satisfying slumber.

He suggests that changes are needed to the way that seafarers are regarded… Continue reading

Forecasting the Future

It’s my great pleasure to host a webinar for CapitalLink this afternoon on the Future of the Shipping industry. Continue reading

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