Clay Maitland

On a quest for quality in shipping

Ash Readiness?

There are warning signals emanating from Iceland where, under a glacier, another volcano with an unpronounceable name is showing signs of violent activity. Many of us will have memories of the extraordinary confusion caused in the aviation industry by the last emanations of Icelandic ash, a couple of years go. Those caught abroad while aviation came to a halt still dine out happily, boring their hosts with their accounts of how they made it home, even though it took many days and several different modes of transport.
It is worth recalling the contribution of the ferries to this emergency, aided and abetted by the odd cruise ship pressed into service and the useful if unexpected revenue stream these ship operators discovered, as people accustomed to aeroplanes found that there were… Continue reading

Yielding, not cracking

Years ago a former shipmate in command of a big channel ferry said that what would make his life inestimably easier would be if naval architects could incorporate a wide belt of rubber around the bows of his ship. This he said would enable him to approach the berth with much more confidence and speed, instead of worrying about the consequences should the pitch controls stick or there be a small miscalculation of his distance off. Ideally he would have opted for a sort of supersize Rigid Inflatable structure, although he recognised the limitations this might have for a drive-through ferry. It is just that his thick steel belting was somewhat unyielding for a ship that he was berthing several times a day.
My friend is now retired but I… Continue reading