Clearing Bearing

John Lord has spent more than 40 years at sea and in maritime industries.

He has served in the Australian Navy, with an Australian State Marine Authority, and more recently as a Director with an international maritime company.


Please direct all letters to:


or by post to:

Baird Publications
Suite 3, 20 Cato Street
Hawthorn East
Victoria 3123

Letters may be published online or in one or more of Baird Maritime or Ausmarine magazine.

Is Antarctica ours to protect?
Friday, 06 March 2009 13:25

The recent International Geophysical Year has highlighted again the complexities we have in the Antarctic: its land and its offshore territories. Signatories with responsibilities are being flooded by new signatories with only “scientific interest”.

The calls recently by the scientists involved in the Australian Antarctic Programme are to be noted. As a lead member of all the associated organisations (COMAR, CAMLR, etc. etc. et al) Australia has really enjoyed a status of high recognition whilst being in cruise control on expenditure in recent years.

We are well served by the P&O Maritime vessel 'Aurora Australis' but it is now getting old.  We continue to pretend we are far advanced in Antarctic research by flying scientists to and from the ice.

Read 2 Comments... >>
Piracy: Do you want protection or not?
Tuesday, 03 March 2009 10:36

The Australian Government has recently announced an inquiry into piracy by the Inspector of Transport Security, Mick Palmer. It is timely, perhaps a little late, but at least will give the Government independent advice on where the threats are and how industry wants them to respond.

My experience in the past was that it was one for all and all for one; that is, protect yourself but we can provide passive advice. I can well recall our advice to merchant vessels was to go faster, turn off your lights, and if boarded, hand over the valuables. Now in the waters off Somalia things are far more serious with the pirates actually wanting to capture the vessel and their cargo.

Read 0 Comments... >>
Half full or half empty?
Wednesday, 18 February 2009 14:50

Much was recently made in Australian Government media announcements about the agreement between AMSA (Australian Maritime Safety Authority) and the Australian Navy over recognition of navy skills by the commercial world (AMSA) and recognition of maritime qualifications by the Australian Navy. 

However, the announcement by the Hon. Warren Snowden referred to officers only. This has not been a great difficulty in the past and has been overcome where necessities dictated.  However, thousands of navy sailors move from a navy life to a civilian career every year and very few of these are encouraged or welcomed into our merchant or commercial maritime fleets.

Read 0 Comments... >>