Clay Maitland

On a quest for quality in shipping

How technology expands awareness

I visited the headquarters of MAIB yesterday, the United Kingdom government’s Marine Accident Investigation Branch, located in Southampton.

The MAIB people are using advanced systems for recovery and analysis of a growing menu of electronic “black box” data, much of it carried aboard modern commercial and passenger ships.

The growing use of diverse electronic monitoring systems, ashore and afloat, is expanding “maritime domain awareness” to track the actions of people, processes and things.

Regulators can access a growing array of sophisticated on-board monitoring technology to tell us what actually happened (read: accidents).

Moreover, we are now acquiring the means to monitor what’s happening on board and under way, right now, in real time.

No more “magic pipes”?

It means that the investigation of casualties… Continue reading

Great time at ABS Gala dinner

I recently attended the American Bureau of Shipping’s 150th Gala dinner celebration in New York and had a wonderful time – congratulations ABS for reaching such an important milestone. Continue reading

Following the old Silk Road

In 1998, in Indonesia, a few sea-cucumber divers made a discovery that has changed how we think about the history of seaborne trade, and the background of China’s maritime commerce.

The divers had come upon what is now known as the Belitung shipwreck, named for the island where it was found.

Dating from the ninth century, the wreck, an Arab vessel, was in effect the Maersk, or APL or NOL, containership of its day; it held more than 60,000 commercial objects.

The cargo, made and shipped from Tang Dynasty China, was bound for Baghdad, then the capital of the Abbasid empire.

The Belitung ship and choice items from its fabulous cargo, are, thanks to the government of Singapore, the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C., and a number of sponsors, now… Continue reading

Engine design to play ‘fuel’ part

The oil price crunch that is now upon us, together with tougher emissions regulation, are a “double whammy” for operators, engineers and yards. Continue reading

Fuel of the future

We are now, it seems, in the early stages of yet another oil price shock. But who ever heard of a gas shock? The answer is that gas shocks don’t happen. Continue reading

Flexibility is vital for future ship design

A memorable description of how a ship is planned, designed and built is in “The Building of the Ship”, written by a poet named Longfellow in the late 1840s: Continue reading

LIVE FROM POSIDONIA: Class to benefit from new US laws

At a Posidonia presentation by one of the leading classification societies, it was noted that the uncertain legal and legislative climate in the United States would generate a real need for a legally prescribed and elaborate risk management structure, plus government oversight, for shipping companies as well as offshore oil drillers doing business in the US. Continue reading