Fisher Maritime's Fairleads

'Lessons Learned' Strategies & Ideas for the Marine Industry

LESSON LEARNED #39: Buying Used Vessels Creates Certain Risks

Lesson Learned

A prospective megayacht owner sought to purchase a used government tugboat for conversion to his private yacht. He engaged a yacht design firm and shipyard to accomplish the conversion. The government agency presented a different sister vessel for inspection, promising that the one that would be actually sold was substantially the same vessel. The owner accepted that representation, taking delivery of the previously uninspected vessel.  The designer and shipyard concurred that the actually-delivered tug was unsuitable for the conversion, even though the one shown would have been suitable. (The vessels started only as sister ships, not identical twins, and had not been modified identically during their lifetime.) At the last minute, the owner had to alter his order from one of conversion to one of newbuilding.

Lesson learned: purchasers of used vessels should be suspicious because sellers of used vessels never tell the full story, even when the seller is a government agency.


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