Clay Maitland

On a quest for quality in shipping

Stating the obvious in terms of accidents

Nobody can really be surprised that the sudden enthusiasm for steaming slowly and spending extensive periods at anchor has tended to reduce the number of casualties. Continue reading

Petioning pirates

A petition calling for action on Somali piracy is an insult to seafarers. But we should all probably sign it. Continue reading

Risk Management 101

Dr. Quenton R. Dokken, Executive Director of the Gulf of Mexico Foundation, which now celebrates its twentieth anniversary, demonstrates what the petroleum industry can do when it heeds the “better angels of its nature”. Continue reading

A blog from Washington

claytoonjpgI have been in Washington, DC for the past few days, watching the legal and political reaction to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. I would say that the clearest lesson to be drawn from the reaction of the U. S. government is that techniques for the extraction of oil at great oceanic depth are more advanced than those for the prevention of leaks or blowouts, as well as response and remediation afterward.

Closely associated with this lesson is a growing awareness that risk exists. It must be managed; and most important, it must be planned for, and be adequately funded. The Gulf of Mexico blowout demonstrates how costly failure can be.

For the future, hydrocarbon extraction… Continue reading

Job not quite done

We don’t sink bulk carriers quite as often as we once did, in the bad old 80s and 90s, when it was not unusual to lose 20 bulk carriers a year along with their crews. Last year there were 9 ships lost along with 39 lives of seafarers, but that was an exceptionally bad year. Over a ten year average, there has been real progress.

We were reminded of these grim days at the launch of the 2nd Edition of The Nautical Institute’s Bulk Carrier Practice, written with a lot of skill and persistence by Captain Jack Isbester, who used to drive these ships for a living and has gone that extra mile to ensure that it is really up to date and relevant in 2010. It is arguably… Continue reading

Volcanic eruptions may create a role for boxships

claytoonjpgYou will have seen my recent brief announcement on welcoming Dr. Hans Payer as a distinguished member of our blog team. He joins Michael Grey, Neville Smith, and Mark Warner who produces our website. They are extremely capable and I am very proud of them.

Hans Payer is also a consultant and adviser to myself, and I believe his appointment is a hugely topical and timely one for reasons that I will explain below.

Because of this, I would like to add a few more details about his career:

Hans is Austrian-born, and holds a Master of Science degree in naval architecture from the University of Vienna, and both Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees… Continue reading

The long and the short and the tall

claytoonjpgHere’s what has happened since the Grand Bureaucratic Bailout of last weekend (GBB for short):

As far as the shipping sector goes, the shortage, or rather the lack, of capital (politely called liquidity) is now really striking home. Even prosperous and successful brands are being affected. The effect on the quality of much of the world fleet, over time, will be striking and very harmful.

Europe’s nearly 750 billion euro bailout package is intended to stabilise just about everything. While we hope that it will work for Greece and Portugal over the long run, it won’t help the shipping industry in the short one.

The reasons are simple: lending, on reasonable terms, to respectable medium-sized businesses, must be… Continue reading

Slippage, Risk, Quality and Liability

It is increasingly clear that the shipping industry faces an influx of cheaply and shoddily designed tonnage in the tanker, dry bulk and containerised categories; that was the talk behind the scenes at this week’s Mare Forum conference, here in Rome. Continue reading

Ingenuity too far?

What on earth can you use a slightly elderly containership for, as the market continues slack and in any case favours the new, environmentally sound and fuel efficient units bursting out of the world’s shipyards? Continue reading

A chill wind on the Akti Miaouli

I have referred to the effect of Greece’s current agonies on its maritime sector. Not least, the crisis’ impact threatens the continued viability of what cognoscenti (lawyers, Greek shipowners and parliamentarians) call Law 89.

This dandy ordinance was the brain child of some famous shipping tycoons in the 1950s., names available on request.

Essentially, it provides for a broad exemption from tax for a “Law 89” company, which is essentially one engaged in the shipping business.

Obviously, tax breaks for the elite, certainly including shipowners, will now come under scrutiny.

Greece’s current Pasok (Socialist Party) government is under growing pressure to soak the rich, and this includes repeal of Law 89 and other
so-called incentives.

Word on the Akti Miaouli (the famed street of maritime… Continue reading

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