Clay Maitland

On a quest for quality in shipping

Deadly Craft.

It might be stretching both taste and veracity to describe them as “deathboats”, but the most recent multiple-death accident to a lifeboat demonstrates beyond peradventure that in modern times, more people have been killed and injured by lifeboats than have been saved by these craft. Continue reading

The Titanic casualty revisited

It is the centenary of the sinking of the Titanic and we have had schmaltz, nostalgia, endless social commentaries about the elitism of death by drowning and along the line a bit of money made by the authors, programme makers, and general commentators. I’m guilty as charged. Continue reading

Women and children first

There is some meaty and controversial stuff in Lloyd’s List Australia about whether the old and noble sentiment of “women and children first” retains any credibility in today’s climate of fearsome feminism and institutionalism selfishness. Continue reading

The old lifejacket dilemma

IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee has concluded its 90th session, its delegates having worked their way through the usual fearsome agenda.

Not surprisingly, the discussions involving the reactions to the Costa Concordia incident have been those which have attracted most attention. In this matter the organisation is somewhat handicapped by the ongoing proceedings and inquiry taking place in Italy, with these themselves being delayed somewhat by the criminal proceedings against the vessel’s master making matters rather more complex.

There are however a number of sensible interim measures which have been recommended in an MSC circular. For a start the seemingly endless arguments about whether lifejackets should be kept in cabins or located near the embarkation might have moved on a little with a recommendation that additional lifejackets should be… Continue reading

Cruise disaster could have larger lessons

I noticed an article from Melissa Bert, a USCG captain, that asks some interesting questions about Costa Concordia, current safety regs and training procedures. Continue reading

Balancing size and safety.

AS WE approach the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic this coming April, passengership safety remains an important issue. Continue reading

Things to fix.

It is, of course, too early to be making pronouncements about the grounding of the Costa Concordia, while the courageous divers are still probing the underwater horrors of a huge capsized ship. Continue reading

Quality operators take lead on lifeboat hook issue

There are many definitions of a “good” ship operator. “Somebody who does what is right, without regulatory pressure or mandatory provisions” might be as good a definition as you can find.

One of the real scandals which has disfigured marine safety for several years has been the terrible loss of life and serious injury that has occurred with accidents involving lifeboats and launching mechanisms, mostly involving the on-load release hooks which seemed such a good idea at the time. It took far too long for the industry to agree the mandatory guidelines for the release and retrieval systems now found in MSC.1/Circ.1392; several years of fruitless arguing, during which time a lot more seafarers and others were killed… Continue reading

Belts and braces needed on lifeboat safety

There seems to have been a good deal of dissatisfaction in the shipping industry at what the regulators at the IMO managed to put together at the Maritime Safety Committee on on-load lifeboat hooks. Continue reading

Real chance to save lives

This month, at the IMO Sub-Committee on Ship Design and Equipment, there is a chance for distinguished delegates to make an immediate impression on the number of seafarers killed or injured in lifeboat accidents. Continue reading