Michael Grey

Michael Grey

Maritime industry legend, and former long-term editor of Lloyds List, Michael Grey kicks off each issue of Work Boat World with topical issues affecting the maritime world at large.

COLUMN | Convert with care [Grey Power]

It seemed a good idea at the time to get hold of some very large crude carriers when values of these ships were low, and convert them speedily into ore carriers, for this was what the market clearly required.

REMINISCENCES | Carefully to carry

It was a photograph of one of these monster container ships that made me sorry for those who have to sail in them. It was probably a maiden voyage of a CMA-CGM new delivery, because every one of the 18,000TEU that festooned this colossal ship was identical and advertising the company brand. Whatever amazing treasures were contained in the cargo carried in this big ship, its crew would have remained in ignorance about it all. Isn’t that sad?

COLUMN | Too many eggs in the basket [Grey Power]

You should, as the song instructs us, always look on the bright side of life. I’m afraid, when I saw the news that the German carmaker Porsche was having to restart its limited edition, top-of-the-range production line, because nearly 40 of its most expensive vehicles had been lost aboard the sunken Con-Ro Grande America, my reaction was not entirely negative.

REMINISCENCES | Oiling the wheels of industry

These days, when corruption has gone inter-continental and there is so much money laundering, you don’t wonder why the banknotes are dirty, I sometimes recall the corrupt practices of the past. It wasn’t exactly an age of innocence, but it all seems to have been on a smaller and more comprehensible scale, when there was less transparency about what was being given to whom to ..er..“facilitate trade”.

COLUMN | Staying mum on pirate problems [Grey Power]

I never sailed in the West African trades, but I know several people who looked back with the fondest memories of voyages to that part of the world, with ships being worked in roadsteads; cargo loaded and discharged using surfboats and the seamanship exhibited by the cheerful locals who handled these boats.

  • Published in Piracy

REMINISCENCES | The slow march of technology

I don’t know how they cope these days with all the electronic equipment, which keeps ship systems together, having to be updated or even replaced, every eighteen months or so. On our oldest ladies – some of them the wrong side of 35 years old – the equipment they took to the scrapyard was mostly that which had been installed when they left their shipyards. Our company was no mean-minded tramp outfit – our Commonwealth cargo liners were the best that the owner’s money could buy - but marine technology moved rather slower in those days.

COLUMN | Ports to dread [Grey Power]

Ships, you might think, are the customers of ports and their main (sometimes the only) source of revenue. So you might think that visiting ships would be welcomed with open arms and treated in such a way that they might return, delighted at the exhibition of customer-friendliness which they found.

COLUMN | What’s in the box? [Grey Power]

Well, there’s a turn up for the books. Sixty years after the first containers were taken to sea, a major shipping company has announced that it is to check up on what is in at least some of them. Maersk has announced that it is to undertake random checks on the contents of containers leaving and entering US ports, in an effort to encourage rather more precision and accuracy in the descriptions of their contents, and to check that the boxes have been stowed properly.

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