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Clay Maitland Blog

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  • Pacific Merchant Marine Council
    Ahoy, Probably our council s links page, http://groups.yahoo.com/group/PMMC-NLUS/links, with a 130+ links already may not need another. But here goes - one
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 18, 2009
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      Probably our council's links page, http://groups.yahoo.com/group/PMMC-NLUS/links, with a 130+ links already may not need another. But here goes - one more of a timely nature, Clay Maitland's Blog. I found the posts written by him and his team well thought out and cogent. See http://www.claymaitland.com/about to read a bit more about him as an individual and his international team,  Dr. Hans Payer, Michael Grey, and Neville Smith.
      I would love to see our own Captain John Denham post his comments and well as the Navy League's Merchant Marine Committee Chairman Vice Admiral Al Herberger enter his compositions on the subject. Below are three recent posts that should stimulate dialog.
      PS Here are a few more blogs, some already on our links page.
      Clay Maitland Blog
      On a quest for quality in shipping, Clay Maitland, the maritime executive and commentator, has established a new safety & environmental blog for shipping focused on stimulating a dialogue on the environmental standards generally described as “quality issues.” This site will aim to stimulate maximum participation within the industry and all interested parties, with lots of “buzz” and “twitter”. This site will be updated frequently, possibly several times a day.
      A United Nations tax on our military's fuels? And commercial shipping and aviation? The Copenhagen Climate Control Conference may have been a well meaning attempt to deal with global warming (which many of repute believe is more political than scientific) has come up with this tax scheme? Get real!

      Taxation and representation

      By Michael Grey

      Posted on | December 18, 2009 | No Comments

      There seems an air of increasing desperation in Copenhagen, as the Danish police call for reinforcements to beat back the armies of anti-capitalist demonstrators and assorted greens now frantically laying siege to the bizarre meeting which is attempting to save the world.


      In an attempt to get somebody to agree to something, it seems that shipping and aviation might now be targeted as a useful contributor to the amorphous fund which must be cobbled together to bribe the developing nations to go quietly, as the newly industrialized nations seem to have other ideas of what constitutes consensus.


      And what is worse, some bright spark has come up with the idea of the United Nation Framework Convention on Climate Change becoming the “banker”, collecting and presumably distributing the vast sums to be raised by taxing aviation and ships’ bunker fuel.


      It is worth analyzing what this could mean. Firstly that it is the UN which will be levying a tax upon all of us who use ships and aircraft, which in the case of the former, means a tax on virtually everyone on the planet, for whose life is not touched materially by the passage of merchant ships? It is, not to put too fine a point upon it, world government.


      Secondly, this is taxation without proper representation , with no confidence in any competent authority, which can collect the money fairly and distribute it properly. And for what purpose? It is because transport is viewed as a soft touch , and one that coincides with the twisted views of the mad greens rioting around the Copenhagen climate change festival as the blizzards (a final irony) clamp down. How on earth will making shipping goods around the world more expensive benefit anyone, and especially those who can afford it least. But madder things have happened at the 11th hour at these frantic, futile international beanfeasts. Remember, taxation without representation was responsible, so history informs us, for an earlier, but perhaps more significant riot, in Boston.



      Here is one on a local incident posted by Mr. Maitland

      Holes in the fence

      By Clay Maitland

      Posted on | December 17, 2009 | 1 Comment

      When the Cosco Busan struck the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge on November 27, 2007, in a heavy fog, it became an exhibit in the ongoing debate about the importance of crew qualifications.

      The San Francisco Bay pilot, John Cota, had a medical history, and appears to have been taking, in the words of the National Transportation Safety Board, “…a number of medications, the types and dosages of which would be expected to degrade cognitive performance, and these effects were present on the day of the accident.”

      The NTSB report also related that the pilot and the master “failed to engage in a comprehensive master-pilot information exchange before the ship departed the dock.”

      Among other things, the Board found that the master failed to implement several procedures found in the company safety management system (SMS), and the manual containing these procedures was only in English, not in Chinese, which was the spoken language of the bridge crew.

      The crew, moreover, were new to the vessel, new to the management company, and had not worked together previously.  It found that the crew were inadequately trained in vessel operations and safety procedures.

      Finally, the Board found that the United States Coast Guard had failed to require that mariners, including pilots, report changes in their medical condition, between medical evaluations: “The USCG, which had the ultimate responsibility for determining the pilot’s medical qualification for retaining his merchant mariner’s license, should not have allowed the pilot to continue his duties because the pilot was not medically fit.”

      When the Cosco Busan struck the bridge, the damage to ship and shoreline as a result of spilled bunkers came to $70m for the clean-up, $2m  for the ship, and $1.5m for the bridge – - not to mention the numerous dead birds, tallied by the local authorities.

      All of this is food for thought, when we talk about problems of crew hiring, management and training.  One of the unsolved challenges of today and tomorrow is how to compensate for the treatment of seafarers as a mere commodity.  This state of affairs is probably the greatest threat to safety at sea at the present time, at least among commercial vessels.

      And one more that hits home for the Navy League and our council.

      The Other Human Element in shipping

      By Clay Maitland

      Posted on | December 14, 2009 | No Comments

      When shipping gurus, or guru wannabes, gather, we often speak of the “human element.”

      This is understood to be the merchant seafarers who are, as is well known, often in short supply these days. There is, however, another “human dimension,” one that we often forget.

      I refer to the public as a whole. Our industry, absorbed in communicating with itself, has never gotten the hang of establishing rapport with the people we serve – the hundreds of millions of members of the human race who depend, whether they know it or not, on the maritime supply chain to receive the necessaries of life. And so, we bewail (a) our supposed obscurity, and (b) our bad public image.

      Some of us believe that this need not be so. Every so often, a beam of sunlight illuminates our inward-looking world, and gives a hint of how we could break down the wall of stuffiness that surrounds us. Continuted... 

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