Clay Maitland

On a quest for quality in shipping

Ships that drive themselves

There are some encounters between ships that stay in the memory. One was a meeting with a crossing vessel off the Sombrero Passage into the Caribbean, when we saw a crossing vessel on the port bow, on a steady bearing. It was a large tanker and clearly the burdened vessel, but showed no inclination to give way. Eventually, we blew the required number of blasts and prepared to alter course ourselves.

At that moment, through our binoculars, we saw a door flung open in the midship accommodation block and a person rushing up the external ladders to the bridge, just before the tanker violently altered course away from us. It was lunchtime and clearly there had been nobody on the bridge. We thought it quite disgraceful, as… Continue reading

Pirates’ progress

There is grim reading from the South China Seas and South East Asian waters, where piracy, which seems to have been contained although perhaps not entirely defeated in the Eastern Indian Ocean, has returned with a vengeance. Scarcely a day goes by without reports of ships being boarded, occasionally seized and emptied of their cargo. At the same time there has been an upsurge in what might more accurately be described as “maritime mugging”, with ships being boarded for the valuables of the crew, or anything else that is both moveable and marketable.

Last month there were a number of cases of robbers making off with engine room spares, which can give rise to a number of different views as to the probable destination of the spare… Continue reading