Fisher Maritime's Fairleads

'Lessons Learned' Strategies & Ideas for the Marine Industry

LESSON LEARNED #36: Two Owners Means Two Different Vessels

Lesson Learned

A shipyard, constructing an excursion vessel for an owner, was approached by a second owner that wished to contract for a second of the same vessel. Using the same contract drawings and specifications, the shipyard priced the second vessel assuming the benefit of a production learning curve and that nearly all the engineering for the first vessel would be directly applicable to the second vessel. This proved to be an erroneous and costly assumption. In the process of reviewing the construction details and testing/trials agendas, none of which were contractually defined with specificity, the second owner’s representatives were far more demanding than those of the first owner. These greater demands resulted in significant rework, excess engineering hours and more extensive tests and trials.

Lesson learned: even if the same drawings and specifications are being used for two or more vessels, the shipyard should consider each vessel to be the first of a series when it is being constructed for a different owner.


LESSON LEARNED #35: Confirm With Vendors Before Specifying

Lesson Learned

A vessel owner’s team set out to increase the refrigeration capacity of the vessel. Among other new components, this required the installation of several additional 250-amp breakers identical to ones already on the vessel. The owner’s staff read the part number for the existing breakers, and directed the shipyard to order additional breakers using that part number to ensure commonality. What arrived, however, were only the casings for the breakers, not fitted with the internals. A separate part number was need for the internals, or an alternate part number for the combination of the internals plus casing. A last-minute contract amendment and extra installation costs were incurred.

The lesson learned: the owner’s specification writers should confirm from the vendor that the identified part number is the appropriate one and that the product is currently being manufactured.

LESSON LEARNED #34: Owner Furnished Equipment

Lesson LearnedA tanker owner’s plan to modernize a vessel resulted in the decision that the owner would supply a certain large item of new equipment to be installed by the US west coast shipyard. The owner selected a vendor based on low pricing, anticipating a savings of about $60,000 below what the shipyard’s charge would have been. After the project commenced, however, the owner’s team discovered that the selected vendor was unable to demonstrate that the component met the required testing and certification standards.

The vessel owner’s team then had to re-order the component from another manufacturer, paying a premium for rushed completion. Moreover, because the newly selected vendor was far from the shipyard, the vessel owner’s team had to charter an aircraft to rapidly transport the component from Texas to the US west coast. In the end, the anticipated savings of about $60,000 was replaced by extra costs in excess of $100,000 above what the shipyard’s charge would have been.

If instead the vessel owner’s staff had spent time to write a precise specification and had given the shipyard the responsibility to acquire the component in accordance with that specification, any and all those extra costs would have been for the shipyard’s account.

The lesson learned: Vessel owners should not use anticipated cost-savings as a basis for deciding to provide equipment as owner-furnished.