Clay Maitland

On a quest for quality in shipping

Cruise disaster could have larger lessons

I noticed an article from Melissa Bert, a USCG captain, that asks some interesting questions about Costa Concordia, current safety regs and training procedures. Continue reading

Balancing size and safety.

AS WE approach the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic this coming April, passengership safety remains an important issue. Continue reading

Does industry lack integrity when it comes to dangerous cargo safety?

Shipping industry conspicuously silent about Vinalines Queen death toll Continue reading

The mind of a man

As everyone from the popular media to the ship’s operators queue up to condemn the master of the Costa Concordia, how many of his accusers takes a moment to consider for a moment what must have been going through the mind of that man as he felt the rocks bite into the port side of his huge ship? Continue reading

The changing face of flag authorities

QUALITY and performance standards are, in these times of economic woe, often more important to the struggling shipowner and operator than back in the days when money grew on trees — or seemed to.

“Value is where you find it,” one owner recently remarked. “Particularly operational value. I have to run my ships. I need professional knowledge to do that. Knowledge — or skill — costs money. Competent professional skills must be two things: available and affordable.”

A great but little-noted change that has taken place in the last few years has been loss of seasoned, competent professional talent. Perhaps because of its expense, shipboard and shoreside establishments are becoming leaner.

There is less experience, at any price it seems, to be found on board ship; less… Continue reading

Things to fix.

It is, of course, too early to be making pronouncements about the grounding of the Costa Concordia, while the courageous divers are still probing the underwater horrors of a huge capsized ship. Continue reading

The percentage game again

There is a lot of luck involved in salvage. Those involved in the salvage of the containershp Rena which went aground on the Astrolabe Reef off Tauranga three months ago might have comforted themselves with the prospect of better weather as the southern spring gave way to summer. Alas, as the tourists have complained, it has been a lousy summer in New Zealand, and the broken halves of the containership with wreckage and cargo swirling up the tide bear witness to this salvage rapidly giving way to a “wreck removal” contract.

But as containerships go, this is a tiddler compared to the giants now entering service on the main line routes. How do salvors, and everyone else from… Continue reading

A grim reminder of present problems

Before we get too exercised by the commemoration of the Titanic centenary, it might be quite apposite to recall that next month it will be 25 years since the purpose-built 1150teu containership Hanjin Incheon was lost in the North Pacific with all on board. Continue reading

Another hazardous cargo, another sinking

On Christmas day, the bulk carrier Vinalines Queen, carrying a cargo of nickel ore from Morowali, Indonesia, to China, went missing. The ship and its crew of 22 must now be considered lost. Continue reading

Symbols of maritime decline

Our government’s present inability to land a cargo of gasoline in a U.S.-flag vessel in icebound Nome, Alaska, symbolizes the shortage of foresight of our maritime policy makers. We are unable to provide a U.S.-flag ice-strengthened tanker to lift cargo between points in the United States (within Alaska), and will apparently have to secure the services of a Russian vessel instead. Continue reading