Clay Maitland

On a quest for quality in shipping

Wellness helps afloat

Everyone by now knows about the connection between the human element – seafarers, in real language – and safety. What we perhaps do not know sufficiently about is the way in which human performance and an ability to do one’s job efficiently and well is influenced by health and, in particular mental health. If somebody aboard ship is miserably unhappy, for whatever reason, it is more than likely that their work will be affected. With small crews, people keeping watch more or less alone, retreating into their cabins when not working, the likelihood of such problems going unrecognised is obviously greater.

Social isolation, perhaps caused by language difficulties, bad news or worry about problems at home (the internet sometimes being a mixed blessing) have all been recognised as problems… Continue reading

Steady state of blame

If nothing else, the flurry of maritime accidents around the New Year served to remind people in the industry, as much as the general public, that there is a lot needs doing to make shipping rather safer. Tor Svensen of DNV-GL was speaking about these problems just recently, reminding us that 2000 people die at sea every year and serious accidents are on a level basis, or even slightly increasing, with about 100 total losses every year.

Nobody ever stops talking about the need to improve marine safety, from the Secretary-General of the IMO downwards, but there is a distinct lack of real improvement. As Tor Svensen observed, there is always plenty of focus on safety, with public demands for improvement , regulatory pressures and new technologies available to… Continue reading

Maritime TV’s ‘Mondays with Maitland’ – Working with Congress to Insure Seafarers’ Port Access Rights are Respected at U.S. port terminals


In this 37th interview in the series, Clay discusses the need to make sure seafarers’ port access rights are respected while they’re on ships calling on U.S. port terminals, especially as it relates to Section 811 of the Coast Guard Authorization Act legislation. He also discusses his involvement with the North American Maritime Ministry Association (NAMMA) which is working to support this legislation… Continue reading

Safe ports in wild weather

The title of “biggest containership in the world” is changing rapidly at present, with a queue of giant vessels leaving far eastern shipyards and loading their maiden cargoes. Members of the public have been able, care of the media, to marvel at the CSCL Globe , which has been on her maiden north European rotation and has been making headlines wherever she arrives. It is good to have these positive pictures of shipping, after too many of the opposite recently, what with death and disaster elsewhere in the world.

There is, however a lot of challenges represented in handling these “mega” ships, as has been evident recently with a string of severe storms tracking across the North Atlantic to test European sea defences. Not for the first time, very… Continue reading

Maritime TV’s ‘Mondays with Maitland’ – Clay’s perspective on the lessons learned from the MOL Comfort sinking and subsequent lawsuit.


In this 36th interview in the series, Clay discusses the issues surrounding the June 2013 MOL Comfort sinking after it was announced last month that claims against Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) for the loss of the ship are now amounting to over $500m, with more than 100 claimants joining the Tokyo court legal action headed by Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL). Clay points to certain classification societies and shipyards in assessing responsibility for disasters like these, but stresses the complexity involved in addressing the problem… Continue reading

An upright stance

Whatever occurred as the big vehicle carrier Hoegh Osaka moved off the berth in Southampton and proceeded down Southampton Water, the action of the bridge team in grounding her on the Bramble Bank would appear to have saved the day. This considered piece of rapid decision making probably saved a lot of lives which could have been lost if the ship had capsized, while it certainly saved the bacon of Southampton Port, which would almost certainly have been closed if this monster had rolled over in the channel. Whatever brickbats or praise might be thrown around in the aftermath of this spectacular casualty, the efforts made on that bridge to mitigate the consequences require due recognition.

It is a reminder that the unexpected is never that far away in… Continue reading