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Maritime Intermezzo


We hope you'll join our BLOG as we explore and collaborate to implement solutions to the common challenges we share in our businesses.

Discussion topics include: Arbitration, Admiralty and Maritime Law, Big Data, Brokering, Chartering, Insurance...

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In life, risk management requires us to weigh the costs of our decisions. Follow the posted speed limit? Jump a red light? Build more and bigger ships in an already saturated market? Do we give up when the going gets tough? Do we rely on the facts or on fact resistant press releases...

Risk management has kept our species alive. We see patterns and quickly deduce, rightly or wrongly, friend or foe, fight or flee. We even see patterns where none exist. We routinely consider factors that aren't relevant and ignore those that are. It is just how our brains work. We let emotion influence the importance of the variables. Find a pattern and keep life simple. As seen in container shipping circles bigger must be better (or was) so let's all build even bigger container ships just as the global economies go into a slow cycle...

Ship's masters are like any other population of licensed professionals. Some super good, most in the middle, and some really really dangerous. Just like lawyers and doctors. A Master may be lucky his or her entire career. And it is a good thing to be lucky. It is even a better thing to be lucky, competent and prepared.


Many Masters retire without ever being tested by a major accident, storm or failures of multiple systems. The Masters I've known hope that if the time came they would respond calmly, courageously, selflessly. As a group they're hopeful. Recent (the last 20 years) marine accidents would indicate our responses are not aligned with our aspirations.

Having been an observer on the bridge during the cascading of events to a casualty even the most senior of Masters develop tunnel vision, revert to their native tongue and lose track of time. Fortune favors the prepared. How many Masters are prepared to accept they've lost the battle and now need to save the day.

The cruise industry is global. Every country and each individual port has a different understanding of the industry, level of engagement with the ships and emergency resources with which to respond to fires, explosions, collisions...


At 0637 on May 25, 2003, a cruise ship with 911 crew members and 2,135 passengers on board suffered a major explosion while safely moored alongside the pier. The explosion started in the main space, ripping upwards and out, punching through steel decks and bulkhead, severing emergency power cables, wiring, piping, and disrupting the asbestos insulation lining, the boilers and many steam pipes aboard.

Passageways, accommodations and public areas were dark with smoke and asbestos.