Clay Maitland

On a quest for quality in shipping

The changing face of flag authorities

QUALITY and performance standards are, in these times of economic woe, often more important to the struggling shipowner and operator than back in the days when money grew on trees — or seemed to.

“Value is where you find it,” one owner recently remarked. “Particularly operational value. I have to run my ships. I need professional knowledge to do that. Knowledge — or skill — costs money. Competent professional skills must be two things: available and affordable.”

A great but little-noted change that has taken place in the last few years has been loss of seasoned, competent professional talent. Perhaps because of its expense, shipboard and shoreside establishments are becoming leaner.

There is less experience, at any price it seems, to be found on board ship; less… Continue reading

Money and blood

It is not clear whether the loss of the Jian Fu Star (October 27th 2010: 13 fatalities); Nasco Diamond (November 10th 2010: 21 fatalities); or the Hong Wei (December 3rd, 2010: 10 fatalities) involved a ship that lacked P&I cover or that was not classed with a known classification society. Continue reading

Should we blame flag states for Nickel Ore disasters?

I wanted to follow up on a point Matt Turner made in one of the comments to my Nickel Ore disaster story. Continue reading

Where’s the response to Nickel Ore casualties?

For many years, cargo experts, underwriters, trade associations and the IMO have warned of the dangers posed by certain mineral cargoes. In little more than a month, three bulk carriers and their crews have been lost. Continue reading