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The irascible Michael Gray, easily one of the finest maritime scribes writing today, returns to a pet topic – the pernicious effects on maritime operations that results from the relentless drive for lower freight costs. In this instance, it’s the grounding of a small container feedership off Scotland, the direct result of employing sub-standard crew and officers because they are cheaper. “Shipping’s ability to provide its services so cheaply, could almost be ranked as a branch of the social services.”

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