Clay Maitland

On a quest for quality in shipping

Remembering brave seamen from a bygone age

You have to be of a certain age to remember the story of the Flying Enterprise – the Isbrandtsen C-1 cargo liner overwhelmed by storms in the North Atlantic around the New Year of 1952. It was a saga which gripped the public imagination on both sides of the Atlantic as the crew of the ship, which had cracked forward of the accommodation in the midst of a hurricane, fought to save her. Continue reading

Walport video highlights dangers of ‘human element’

An exhausted Mate, with real fatigue kicked in and at the end of his tether, bawls out the ordinary seaman who appears dimmer than he should be (although he is barely qualified to be taking the lookout because all the qualified hands were “out of hours”). Continue reading

Shaken faith

Not a lot seemed to happen during the Christmas and New Year holiday season, although the UK Met. Office managed, on the Blairite principle of “today being a good day to bury bad news” to sneak out, at the height of the festivities, their latest assessment that global warming is happening a great deal slower than the climate alarmists would have had us believe. Continue reading

Why mentoring matters

Bully for the Nautical Institute, which is making a pitch for the value of mentoring, with a new book soon to be launched and a worldwide push through its branches.

We didn’t actually call it that, but during my apprenticeship, like all my compatriots, I was a “mentee”, imbibing the “company way” of doing things correctly, from officers who had learned their business in exactly this fashion.

And of course it didn’t end with the first certificates – whatever rank you subsequently held, you would be mentored by your superiors, and in turn, you would take responsibility for those coming along astern.

It was a good system, even though you sometimes learned how NOT to do things from the occasional hopeless teacher. It mostly came out in… Continue reading

Things to do next year

Many of us are compulsive list makers and I’m no exception as lists become more important as memory falters. So, with New Year resolutions little more than a month away, here are a few things for the shipping industry to think about in the upcoming year. There is no particular order and only 20, so you might think, ambitiously, that there is room for more. Continue reading

No visibility

How can we ever interest journalists and so-called “opinion-formers” in the maritime industry? It is a question that arises quite often, but no satisfactory answer ever emerges. Perhaps you can offer them prizes and awards for brilliant writing about our industry? After all, “Travel Writer or Financial Writer of the Year” seems to attract kudos. Continue reading

Posturing in Venezuela

Considering the febrile relationship between Venezuela and the United States, the problems afflicting the crew of the US flag heavy lift ship Ocean Atlas might not be considered too much of a surprise. Continue reading

A new dimension for maritime employment

Attention will now be focussed afresh on the Maritime Labour Convention now it has completed its ratification process, with Russia and the Philippines bringing the total up to the 30 member states required to begin the “entry into force” process. With more than 60% of gross tonnage operated by the states which have ratified, MLC 2006 will now come into force in 12 months time, in August 2013. Not before time. Continue reading

UN should back off on private security

It is a bit rich, all this carping criticism from the United Nations about the private security sector, suggesting that it is open to trigger-happy criminals to get in on the act in the absence of that wonderful bureaucratic solution to all the world’s ills – “regulation”. Continue reading

The silence of the lambs

In what Britons call a leader, and what we Yanks call an editorial, I have been somewhat taken to task by Lloyd’s List. On March 22nd, the leader’s author “take[s] exception” to my statement, made at CMA in Connecticut, that industry trade associations have been strangely silent when it came to positive measures that could be taken against the spread of piracy. Interestingly, in another leader (editorial) five days later, Lloyd’s List seemed to acknowledge the force of my comments. Continue reading

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