Clay Maitland

On a quest for quality in shipping



Clay Maitland has worked in the shipping industry since graduation from law school in 1968. Clay has been employed by International Registries, Inc. for over 41 years and is now a managing partner and an owner of the company, which administers the Marshall Islands Ship Registry – the third largest registry in the world, and which is now one of the best-known yacht registries. He is President of the Trust Company of the Marshall Islands (TCMI), the statutory Maritime Administrator of the Republic of the Marshall Islands. Prior to the year 2000, Clay held similar positions with regard to the maritime administration of the Republic of Liberia.

Clay was born in London, England on December 28, 1942. His father was a pilot in Bomber Command of the Royal Air Force, and was lost with his plane, a B25 Mitchell bomber in March of 1943. Clay’s mother was a native New Yorker, and he came with her to the United States in 1946, aboard RMS Queen Elizabeth.

Clay was educated at schools in Connecticut and received his B.A. degree from Columbia University in 1964, and his law degree from New York Law School in 1968. He was admitted to the New York Bar in 1969 and became associated with the admiralty law firm of Burlingham Underwood & Lord, where he worked until 1974. After a brief stint as admiralty counsel at Union Carbide Corporation, he joined what is now International Registries, Inc. in 1976.

At that time, IR managed the Liberian ship registry, which was, at the time, the largest in the world by tonnage in number of ships. Founded by former Secretary of State Edward Stettinius, who had been president of U.S. Steel, and during World War II, War Shipping Administrator and then Lend-Lease Administrator, the company included among its early investors, Allen Dulles, Esq., who was then a partner in Sullivan & Cromwell. Mr. Dulles went on to become Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. This company, under the name of Liberian Services Inc. included a bank in Liberia, of which Clay Maitland also became an officer after he joined the company in 1976. The genesis of the Stettinius family investments in Liberia arose when President Roosevelt flew from Casablanca, after the famous conference with Winston Churchill and their staffs, to Monrovia, Liberia in January, 1943, to observe the opening of what was to be a major air base, now Roberts Field. Mr. Stettinius himself flew to Liberia after the Yalta Conference in 1945.

Since his early years as a Maritime lawyer, starting in 1969, Clay has been involved with a number of philanthropic and professional associations connected with the industry. In addition to those listed above, Clay is on the boards of the Maritime Industry Museum, at Fort Schuyler (SUNY Maritime College) and the King’s Point Maritime Museum, at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy. He is on the board of directors of the Sea Research Foundation, created by Dr. Robert Ballard, the discoverer of the wreck of RMS Titanic, and which operates among other things the research vessel Nautilus.

Among his other affiliations: Member of the Executive Committee and Director of the Coast Guard Foundation; member of the Board of Directors of the Coast Guard Auxiliary Foundation; Member of the American Bureau of Shipping, and of the National Cargo Bureau; Founding Chairman of the North American Maritime Environment Protection Association (NAMEPA); Chairman Emeritus of the National Maritime Historical Society (publishers of SEA HISTORY magazine); Chairman of the North American Maritime Ministry Association (NAMMA) Industry Advisory Council; board member of the Maritime Industries Academy Foundation (Baltimore Harbor School); a member of the New York City Bar Association and Maritime Law Association of the United States; former Chairman of the National Maritime Historical Society; former Chair of the Admiralty Committee of the New York City Bar Association, and of the Committee on Intergovernmental Organizations of the Maritime Law Association of the United States (MLA). Clay continues to serve as a delegate to the Legal Committee of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in London. Clay has served on the Executive Board of the World Maritime University in Malmo, Sweden and is a member of the Standing Committee of the Marine Society of the City of New York. He is currently Chairman of the Hellenic-American Chamber of Commerce.

He has been a delegate to a number of international maritime conferences, including the United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea, and at the International Maritime Organization in London.

Clay received the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters from the State University of New York Maritime College in 2006, and was decorated with the U.S. Coast Guard’s Distinguished Public Service Award in 2010, by the Commandant of the Coast Guard, ADM Robert J. Papp.

Clay has endowed two scholarships for students entering the maritime industry:

  1. The Clay Maitland Scholarship in International Transportation, at the State University of New York Maritime College (Ft. Schuyler), for the benefit of students in the Master of Science degree program in International Transportation Management;
  2. The Virginia Maitland Sachs Charitable Scholarship Fund at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy, Buzzards Bay, MA, for the benefit of students at the Academy.


Dear Friends:

Too many people in our industry are reluctant to express their honest views on what is right, and wrong, about the shipping world.

I wish  to create a dialogue and debate in the shipping industry worldwide to stimulate support for shared quality objectives.

These are to build support for action to create safer ships, cleaner seas and greater protection for the environment. The achievement of these goals is vital during the current recession, to prevent slippage in quality due to financial pressures.

I blog entirely as an independent person, expressing my own views and not those of International Registries, Inc (IRI) of which I am a Managing Partner, nor those of the Marshall Islands ship registry which it administers. They also are not the views of the North American Marine Environment Protection Association [NAMEPA], of which I am Chairman.

In addition to shipowners, the important participants in this process include regulators, the IMO, the EU, ship managers, charterers, underwriters, bankers, private equity interests, port states, coastal states, flag states, class, IACS, RO’s, and last but not least the seafarers themselves, the vital human element and the crews aboard the ships.

This site aims to stimulate maximum participation within the industry and all interested parties, with lots of “buzz” and “twitter”. This site is updated frequently, possibly several times a day.

I employ the blog to augment my frequent speaking engagements at conferences and on discussion panels using the authority gained from over 30 years experience in the industry.

To help achieve my aims and to assist me as Editor-In-Chief of the blog, I have assembled an all-star team of columnists:

My colleagues, who will assist and support me in furnishing content, are known to you:


Hans is a naval architect and renowned expert in ship design, construction, technology and safety at sea. He is a former Member of Germanischer Lloyd’s Executive Board and Chief Executive Officer of GL Maritime Services, where he played a leading role in generating policies to improve ship safety globally. He also strongly supported international efforts to improve attitudes to quality, particularly in respect of the frequent serious accidents prevalent at the time among older bulkers and tankers. Hans is a past Chairman of IACS, and is still a consultant to that organisation. He has written, presented and published more then 100 papers in the field of ship structures, hydrodynamics and vibration, as well as on ship safety, the human factor, accident investigations, and security.  He strongly supported international efforts to improve attitudes to quality, particularly in respect of the frequent serious accidents prevalent at that time among older bulkers and tankers.


Michael chairs countless conferences and panels, and is a consultant to many organisations and individuals in shipping in the UK and overseas. His knowledge of the industry and those who work in it is truly awe-inspiring. He has been Editor of Lloyd’s List, and still writes for it. He was Editor of Fairplay Shipping Weekly, and Technical Editor of Shipbuilding and Shipping Record. He is the author of many maritime books, and also broadcasts on shipping matters. He is a fellow of the Nautical Institute. A former mariner, he is the holder of a British Master Mariner’s Certificate. Michael has a particular interest and expertise in human element issues, marine safety and ship operational matters, and in current concerns on the adequacy of manning on many hard-worked ships.

Happy reading and I look forward to engaging with you in the open dialogue and thought-provoking discussion this site will generate.

Cordially yours

Clay Maitland

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