Clay Maitland

On a quest for quality in shipping

Reflecting on small craft visibility

Small craft share the same sea as huge ships, but don’t always come off too well when they get too close. There have been too many running down incidents, and not always because the small craft skippers are neglecting to keep a lookout because they have been making assumptions about “steam always giving way to sail”, or helping the crew gut the fish they have caught. Continue reading

Carbon song needs a new tune

The folk singer and famous Canadian Joni Mitchell once said that not being at the legendary Woodstock music festival of 1969 gave her ‘a unique perspective on events’. Holed up in her New York hotel room, watching television as the weather closed in, she penned her eponymous anthem to the ‘Age of Aquarius’ taking shape in upstate New York. Continue reading

Fear and loathing but mostly frustration at MEPC

THE IMO is finally getting the hang of greenhouse gas emissions. The answer – at least as far as MEPC 60 is concerned – is to insist that this is a debate had by experts rather than enthusiastic amateurs. Continue reading

What is best for cadets?

On my first ship, the master, who seemed as old as Methuselah, although in reality he was probably only in his 50s, never spoke directly to me during a six month voyage around the world. Continue reading

The growing trait of inertia

Some years ago, a famous personality named Malcolm Muggeridge, who at various times was an agent of MI6, editor of the now departed Punch, and general curmudgeon, entitled his memoirs “Chronicles of Wasted Time.” Continue reading

Investment in cadet training needed now

Roberto Giorgi, president of V.Ships, who is also president of Intermanager, in a recent interview with Lloyd’s List , has called for a compulsory requirement for facilities on newbuildings, for cadets. Continue reading

All talk and no action

A great deal has been said, at the seemingly numberless conferences on (a) piracy, and (b) the Year of the Seafarer, that (c) there is a shortage of qualified seafarers; (d) that “criminalisation” of the seafarer is a growing problem; that (e) better training is needed; and that (f) we of the shipping community must do something about these problems. Continue reading

Seeking the “perfect” ship

There is no such thing as the deficiency-free ship. Why would there be, when there are deficiencies apparent in a brand new aircraft, or train, or house, for that matter? It is a question of degree or scale of the fault. In aviation the aircraft will be able to fly if certain deficiencies occur, but if other more safety critical faults are detected by the systems, it will stay firmly on the ground. Continue reading

Beware of regulatory protectionism in shipping

Who remembers the picture of a six foot high tanker captain standing on the deck of his ship with a terrifying pile of rules, regulations, recommendations, byelaws, and other improving texts towering over him? I cannot recall the caption but the stark warning was that if he failed to read any of this immense wordage, he could end up in the slammer. Continue reading

Keeping up with ship technology

“The technology could be outstripping the abilities of the ship’s staff” – it was asserted recently, by Lloyd’s Register surveyor Bernard Twomey, speaking at the 250-year old classification society’s Technology Days. Continue reading

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