Clay Maitland

On a quest for quality in shipping

No surprises in reef grounding

A dedicated chief officer, unwilling to delegate cargo operations on his first loading operation aboard a coal carrier and failing to sleep more than a couple of hours while his ship was in port was named as the main cause of its subsequent grounding on Australia’s Barrier Reef last year. Continue reading

Following the old Silk Road

In 1998, in Indonesia, a few sea-cucumber divers made a discovery that has changed how we think about the history of seaborne trade, and the background of China’s maritime commerce.

The divers had come upon what is now known as the Belitung shipwreck, named for the island where it was found.

Dating from the ninth century, the wreck, an Arab vessel, was in effect the Maersk, or APL or NOL, containership of its day; it held more than 60,000 commercial objects.

The cargo, made and shipped from Tang Dynasty China, was bound for Baghdad, then the capital of the Abbasid empire.

The Belitung ship and choice items from its fabulous cargo, are, thanks to the government of Singapore, the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C., and a number of sponsors, now… Continue reading

Three schools with fantastic stories

Uplifting stories are fairly rare in any industry these days, and shipping is no exception.

However, at the recent Connecticut Maritime Association trade fair and annual meeting, and at the IMO, startling, hopeful and
positive signs of spring have been visible.

At CMA, amid the various booths, stands and shipbrokers, and endless chatter on piracy, there appeared two new and inspiring things: the maritime training school in Simonstown South Africa (proper name: the Lawhill
Maritime Centre) and the cadets of the Baltimore, Maryland Harbour School
(or to give it its correct name, the Maritime Industry Academy).

At the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), and in Malmo, Sweden, the World Maritime University opened in 1983, has established itself as a unique and internal maritime post-graduate maritime university.

But… Continue reading

Technology brings its own problems

Strange things happen at sea, it is said, and with new and exciting electronic assistance, the range of surprises seems to widen all the time.

I well remember the master on my first trip as a watchkeeper telling me to regard all other ships as if they were being driven by somebody who was either drunk or incompetent.

Pretty good advice, really, although today that same old seaman would have probably added – “or a computer”.

There is quite an extensive library being compiled of accidents in which a reliance on sophisticated electronics led to somebody becoming unstuck through stranding or a collision.

At least one very near miss I heard of, when a ship which appeared to be passing well clear suddenly altered course… Continue reading

A logistical bridge over troubled waters

Sometimes, great events reveal important facts. Logistics, also known as the supply chain, is more and more important on reliable carriage of goods by sea. Continue reading

My Piracy speech from CMA

Piracy – the Scourge Worsens (Guy E.C. Maitland) from MTI Network on Vimeo.… Continue reading