Clay Maitland

On a quest for quality in shipping


6th Annual Capital Link
Greek Shipping Forum
“Opportunities & Challenges”

Tuesday, February 24, 2015 – Athens, Greece

When I chose this title, along with Nic Bornozis, I might have been thought to be drunk or crazy. It is, after all, hard to find one, let alone ten, such “signs”.

There is an old saying: “if you seek a sign, look to the heavens”.

Well, I’ve tried looking everywhere else, with mixed success.

Certainly, we in this industry have been assailed by what the bible calls “job’s messengers”, or false hopes.

These are therefore hard times also for Chinese ports, Norwegian offshore shipowners and us investors.     Just to name three categories.

Recently, the Baltic Dry Index (BDI) put a number on the… Continue reading

First principles

On my first voyage, the single radar had its controls behind a small lockable shutter, the key of which was in the master’s sole possession. On the onset of fog, the officer of the watch would then have to apply to the master to unlock the machine, which would then be warmed up and put into use, by which time the visibility was probably nil. This, said the master, was to prevent an undue reliance being placed on this new equipment, to the neglect of first principles for keeping a proper look-out. It was just an “aid” to navigation, which must be carried out by “lead, log and look-out”.
On another fleet on that same trade to Australia and New Zealand, the ships were then without radar, its fearsome proprietor… Continue reading

Banged to rights?

After a trial which has lasted (if the extensive intervals are taken into account) some 18 months, an Italian court has judged Captain Francisco Schettino, guilty of the multiple manslaughter of the 32 people who lost their lives after the stranding of the Costa Concordia.

Was the master a scapegoat, as he tearfully asserted in his final appeal to the judges, who would later pronounce sentence of 16 years imprisonment upon him? Was it not a failure of the entire bridge team who should have been capable of keeping their huge ship with 4300 souls embarked clear of the rocks?

For the layman, it might seem difficult to conclude anything other than justice has been done and the miscreant master lucky indeed not to have been given the… Continue reading

Were you being served?

We seem to have come a long way from old ideas of ships being regarded as the “customers” of ports and terminals. Nowadays it is the ship which tends to be told what to do and when to do it, the master being given a hard time if he does not snap to attention to the instructions of the powerful officials who swarm aboard.

There are probably many bulk terminals around the world which are pure pleasure to be alongside, but correspondingly, others where departure will occasion only a feeling of relief among the ship’s staff.

BIMCO is encouraging its members who operate dry bulk carriers to have their ship staff complete a brief “satisfaction” survey when they depart loading or discharging terminals, as part of a scheme… Continue reading