Clay Maitland

On a quest for quality in shipping

Suffocation is just that

The Skagerrak Foundation, a Norwegian marine safety pressure group, has started a campaign to ban the use of stationary CO2 fire extinguishing plants aboard Norwegian ships. Continue reading

Go the scenic route

Go to any coastal surveillance station and examine the tracks of shipping passing up and down. Notice anything? They are all following exactly the same track , that decreed by their computer software as being the shortest distance between their departure and arrival ports. 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

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

Uncertain guidelines in a shadowy world

The recent release of four employees of Protection Vessels International, after nearly six months’ detention in Eritrea, together with the imprisonment of six persons — American, Kenyan and British citizens — in Somalia, convicted of illegally bringing ransom money into the country, shows the risks that are run by those offering anti-piracy services. Continue reading

Sustainability – who pays for it?

Sustainability has been the theme of German shipowner Robert Lorenz-Meyer, during his two years as BIMCO President which ended last week in Vancouver at the organisation’s General Meeting. 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

Crime without punishment is crime without end

Having invoked the ire of Intertanko with my last blog entry on, I thought I would try to provide some constructive ideas on tackling piracy as urged to do by the association’s security officer. Continue reading

Lifeboat rule change step in right direction

It was the best of intentions, that sadly became mired in the mud of its own complexity. The development of lifesaving appliances, which fifty years after the loss of the Titanic appeared to have moved only at the pace of a snail, suddenly took off in the 1970s. Continue reading

Adding fuel to the fire of environmental debate

That law of unintended consequences continues to vex us , as the environmentalist said when a wind turbine blade came through his roof. Continue reading

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