Clay Maitland

On a quest for quality in shipping

Going for the jugular

As Egypt has descended into chaos, it will have been a foolhardy ship operator who will not have considered contingency plans should there be attacks prejudicing the safety of ships in transit through the Suez Canal. Continue reading

Death off Cebu

There is an awful inevitability about the sinking off Cebu with heavy loss of life of the Philippine domestic ferry St Thomas of Aquinas, after a collision with a cargo vessel. Both ships were 41 years old, sizeable relics of the developed world shipping operations that passed them on to the maritime developing nation, whose owners find it difficult to afford anything better. Continue reading

Casualty investigation requires some proper forensics

How do you build up expertise in this field, which is quite specialist and far more complex than was once believed, when a gaggle of old shipmasters would sit around a table and ask searching questions of some wretched chap who had run a ship aground? Continue reading

Hansa Brandenburg fire highlights design flaws

This week’s containership fire was located once again in the Indian Ocean, with the Hansa Brandenburg abandoned by her crew, after the container deck stacks ignited and blazed in an exceedingly alarming manner.

One can hardly blame them for evacuating the vessel, with the container stowage immediately forward of the accommodation aboard what might be better described as a geared, multi-purpose vessel, which just happened to be so unlucky as to be carrying containers on deck.

In one of these ships designed by naval architects who had probably never been to sea, the crew of the HB lived in a narrow, multidecked steel tower, perched on the after part of the ship abaft the sternframe.

They had nowhere else to go other than over the side… Continue reading

Cargo care – a ticking time bomb?

I may have been taken to task for blaming the cargo (weights) for breaking the MOL Comfort in half, but I am probably on a safer wicket if I suggest that it was the cargo which saw off the forepart of the ship, along with 2672 containers. Continue reading

Quality? …. Far too expensive!

If you so desire, you can send 20 tons of cargo all the way from Antwerp to Shanghai, or, indeed, from the Chinese superport to North Europe, for less than the price of sending one person in economy class in an aeroplane. I was listening to a French shipowner last week Francis Vallat, speaking at the BIMCO 39 meeting in Paris, noting that when marine transport was concerned, the cost of transport “has ceased to count”. Continue reading

Namepa’s National Maritime Day panel – Part I

As part of Namepa’s National Maritime Day celebrations I recently hosted a panel that covered a host of regulatory requirements from whistle blowing, to the Maritime Labor Convention, to harbor of safe refuge and seafarer welfare. Continue reading

Vessel ‘blackouts’ on the increase

That was a truly appalling accident in the Port of Genoa, when the ro-ro containership Jolly Nero, manoeuvring in the harbour, brought down the VTS tower with several deaths and injuries Continue reading

A heavy heart

Forty years or more after containers really started to be seen on the world’s steamship routes, what a song and dance we are still making about the importance of weighing containers. Continue reading

Watertight bulkheads – full of holes.

It is not a brilliant idea, once you have installed a watertight bulkhead of sufficient strength to withstand the sea, should it be lapping at one side of it, to then drill it full of holes to accommodate pipe and cable runs. And while you obviously have to pierce such bulkheads for very good technical reasons, there are ways of going about it that do not effectively render the barrier about as much use as a colander (possibly a more relevant comparison than a chocolate teapot). Continue reading

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