Home' Baird Maritime : July 2011 Contents Big claims...
Those who have read this column from the start -- which must
have been more years ago than I would care to remember --
know that I am always keenly interested in claims of being the
largest / best / most advanced / [insert excitable adjective here]
They are invariably almost impossible to verify and/or so
specific as to hardly warrant a "big" claim. Don't quite get what I
mean? Well imagine receiving a press release about the "largest
diesel-electric powered fisheries research vessel designed and built
in the southern hemisphere" and you'll get some idea of the degree
to which spin doctors will go to make something 'notable'.
Exactly 896 words. That's how far one company went last year,
claiming to be not only the largest company of its type in the
world but also the most efficient. I know because I counted them.
Among those words there was some data, thought nothing that
conclusively proved either claim. There were, however, some
words -- from the company's most senior executive -- that tended to
undermine the efficiency claim.
The direct quote released was: "...the company is on track
towards its goal of achieving world's best practice in [insert its
business here]". So if you are yet to achieve world's best practice in
your chosen field, it's hard to imagine that you could possibly be
"the world's most efficient". Interesting to note that the CEO who
made the statement is no longer with the firm. Who knows about
the spin doctor.
Interestingly I am yet to hear from anyone about what are truly
the world's largest and fastest rigid hull inflatable boats.
Shuffling the magnificent deck chairs
Speaking of changes on the crew roster, a well known
shipbuilding firm has recently changed the leader of its major
division in a cold country ending in "land". The division itself has
had it fair share of name changes over the years, but the fact that
the outgoing president's name has as many vowels as there are
letters in his (acting) replacement says much about the changing of
guard in this company of late.
Of course there are reasons why people move on and are
replaced. Phrases in the announcement such as "very challenging
times" and "not been successful in getting new orders" give a fair
idea why someone might chose to resign.
By the way the new guy want to, "build and deliver the world's
most magnificent [ships]"... another virtue that will be much hard
to objectively measure than it will be for spin doctors to claim.
Who, what, where...
Facts, of course, are not always important. Sometimes, I am
told, it's not what you know but who.
Whether that is a fact in a recent sub-continental scandal I
cannot say. In fact, I don't believe that anyone can with any
certainty at this point in time. The supposed scandal involves a
boatbuilder that is building vessels for the state police
(apparently a fact) in a yard built on land that is subject to a
local environmental zoning known as CRZ -- Coastal Regulated
Zoning (possibly a fact). Further it is probably a fact that the son
of a local politician is a director of said boatbuilder.
Now, if you haven't guessed it already, the basic question
on the lips of those who care is whether being the son
of a politician helps you get government contracts
and/or enables you to establish a shipyard outside normal
My guess is that in some parts of the world the answer would
definitely be Yes. In this particular instance I am far less sure. I
certainly would not say it looks like a "blatant case of political
influence" but those closer to the scene have -- at least that's
how they have been quoted in the local press.
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July 2011 BAIRD MARITIME
Random photo of the month, showing a situation where one tug is better than two. Anyone identify the culprits?
The best is not
always left to last
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