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 | 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.

REMINISCENCES | The fog of lore

These days big containerships can be found rushing through thick fog in the Dover Straits at 23 knots, visibility nil and thinking nothing of the terror they spread around them aboard ships which are less well equipped. Fog at sea is still horrible stuff, but not as beastly as it used to be with our single primitive radar sets. Nobody really trusted this equipment, so it was dead slow ahead on the telegraphs, doubled up watches and lookouts forward, looking and listening for the sound signals of other ships, while our own siren blasted into the murk every couple of minutes. “Tense” was the word to describe it.

COLUMN | Don’t shoot the designer [Grey Power]

Ship design, we were brought up to believe is a matter of compromise – and lots of them! A shipowner, who, after all, is paying for the thing, requires a ship that can carry enormous quantities of cargo, has a miniscule thirst for fuel and can be manned by very few seafarers who don’t eat very much. And it must be cheap.

COLUMN | Cabotage conundrum [Grey Power]

It is a faraway country, but what goes on in maritime Norway often reverberates around the world. Ships and shipping still matter in this country, with even the public oddly well informed about their maritime leaders, who sometimes enjoy a celebrity rarely found elsewhere.

REMINISCENCES | A mixed bag of masters

When you first joined a ship, one of the first questions you would ask was “who is the master?” It mattered because the attitude of the Old Man would colour the whole complexion of a voyage, and on two year articles, a long voyage with somebody who thought that the captain of the USS Caine was an old softy, was best avoided.

COLUMN | No accounting for greed [Grey Power]

Nowadays, we are so attuned to the notion of “fake news” that we don’t even trust the weather report and completely believe only the date you find on the newspaper you buy from the newsagent. Nobody will lie about that, surely?

  • Published in Cruise

REMINISCENCES | The home port

Ships don’t seem to have “home ports” any more – they circle the world like the proverbial Flying Dutchman – their crews hopefully relieved by great iron birds at the conclusion of their tour, wherever the ship happens to be at the time. They might have a port of registry written across the stern, but they almost certainly never go there.

COLUMN | Smoke gets in your eyes [Grey Power]

More than half a century ago, with the ship alongside in Brooklyn, I witnessed a confrontation between a uniformed official, packing a side arm, and our Chief Officer. The Mate had been the first officer he had seen, on stamping up the gangway and he was angrily complaining about the plume of black smoke emanating from our funnel.

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