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Shipyard Work in ASIA(2)
Posted: Saturday, December 17, 2011 8:26 AM
Joined: 17/12/2011
Posts: 1

Shipyards all over the world tend to make the most experienced Captains shake with fear when they navigate their yacht into the lifting berth ready for the travel lift to haul the boat. However with good preparation viewing the portfolio of other yachts that successfully had work done and speaking with other owners , captain and crew of their experiences many yachts depart the shipyard most of the time delayed and within budget normally.

However shipyards in Asia do not fit into the same category as their counterparts in the USA or Europe.

This is mainly due to the following basic facts.

  1. Cost – Shipyards in Asia tend do to charge less than in the USA due to the fact that labor rates are cheaper in Asia, however once they have your boat on the hardstand then its a different matter with different laws ( if any ) protecting the owner.
  2. Due to the fact that labor rates are less this also means that the training of the staff is of a lower standard than in Europe or USA. This will most certainly show in the quality of the end product sometimes being substandard.
  3. Local Laws and courts tend to act much more slower than in the USA if at all and many are also corruptible so in the event of a claim chances are you will get nothing.
  4. Remember the words no cash no splash, well in the USA if you get a written quote and the shipyard doubles or triples this after you are out of the water, then a good lawyer can sort out the situation quickly through the speed of the courts system in the USA and normally a bond in a escrow account the boat can leave .... In Asia this is virtually none existent and once they have your Yacht on their property then you are screwed as the shipyard  have the upper hand. Meanwhile as the matter over the invoice is in negotiation then the yard have the right to charge hard standing rates a win win for the shipyard.
  5. In Asia local workers tend to work slower than in the USA, mainly because of the very hot conditions they work in and really would you work your butt off for 500 MYR a week ( 5000 THB ) approx 150 USD.

There are many other factors to consider, If you must and I mean if you really must  haul your yacht in Asia then I would highly recommend doing your homework first extensively.

    1. Don’t be shy to ask the shipyard for reference letters or contact details from other Captains or owners so you can contact them to get first hand experiences.A good shipyard with nothing to hide will give you these contacts.
    2. Make sure that your insurer is updated with ALL your haul out plans, detailing insurance coverage,for  ALL the work intended to be done,any accidents the insurers are looking for the smallest item to invalidate the claim.
    3. Make sure you get a copy of the shipyards insurance coverage details, you would be surprised how little money many shipyards in Asia are covered for.
    4. Look at the shipyard, if there are old boats everywhere, untidy yard space, and damaged boats, then you do not have to inspector crusoe to work this one out ....these could be failed project from times past at the shipyard, a sure sign that the shipyard may not be as good as they want you to beleve !
    5. Don’t be bullied by the shipyard or your agent ( do not forget your agent is getting a cut of the final invoice ) remember before you sign a contract or give a deposit you are the boss and you pull the strings.
    6. Make sure that the travel hoist is certified, get a copy of this as if the yacht falls of a uncertified straddle lift there is NO insurance coverage.
    7. And finally be very careful of having any substantial work done just because on a quote you may save a few thousand bucks of your bosses money having the work done in Asia rather than a reputable yard in Australia USA or Europe, it may cost much more money and time in the long run.
    8. Bottom jobs are the norm and maximum I would have done on my yacht in Asia.

Due to the large amounts of super yachts venturing into Asia to sample the great cruising gorgeous bays , beautiful beaches , great food and fantastic nightlife many are beleving that the shipyards here can deliver the same product as in Europe or the USA….Some can, and many cannot it is up to you to find out for yourself. Thailand seems to be better if you can understand the language, Singapore the most expensive and Malaysia the worst

Google is a good start as many accidents or shortfalls are reported somewhere on the net.

I know of a few yachts in the last few years that have unfortunately been the end product of shoddy workmanship, overcharging that could not get away quick enough from the yards.

Best of Luck and Happy Sailing

Captain John Shwartz.

Posted: Saturday, December 17, 2011 9:18 AM
Joined: 17/12/2011
Posts: 2

John I was just reading your views on the shipyards in Asia. I agree with you fully but to be honest I think you are sugar coating the situation somewhat.
I am a mate on a very large super yacht, we come to Asia after the med season every year now and have done for the past few years.
As yachties tend to meet fellow crew members on other yachts we have learned and seen with our own eyes the shipyards in the Asia region from Phuket , Malaysia to Singapore and beyond are absolutely terrible.
They have very little staff that even know how to carefully treat a yacht or vessel for that matter as all some staff need to do is sign their name with no training at all. ( I am not saying all I am saying the majority)

Most of the yards in this region are familiar with working on commercial vessels. and have the heavy handed skills to suit. This is not the staffs fault yachts are in their infancy in Asia relatively only 10 years, so they do not understand how these vessels are to be treated.

There is also a little bit of jealousy involved as the entry level deckie on a 70m yacht would earn in one month what would take one year for a experienced fabricator to make, many years for the inexperienced labour staff.

Only this last year Nobel House 70M went in to  a Malaysia yard, were ripped off blindly to a point where they left never to return again, fixing damages done by the yard along the way.

Silver Fox fell off the slipway in Bangkok only a few months of being completed after 4 years of being refitted.

Naos went into Langkawi for a simple paint job whilst replacing the rigging, it left the yard over budget and late

Maverick went into a Langkawi yard to have a simple paint job done, after many delays and paying over inflated prices the boat was launched cracking the transom due to a faulty travel lift

Asean Princess II went into a yard in the Philipines  for a simple prop change and was damaged upon haul out.

Kalizma went into Lamut ended up having to get a lawyer just to get out of the yard.

Sunchaser went into a yard in Langkawi for a simple paint job, whilst having some interior furnishings changed after a delay of 2 years  finally mysteriously burned down to the waterline a month before completion.

Phuket a motor yacht burst into flames only last week.

Boats are sinking and burning out all the time in Asia .

My advice try to coordinate your time to have any major work done at a reputable shipyard most definately out side of Asia.

Australia yards are good we went there a few years ago to one ( mentioning no names ) .

Posted: Saturday, December 17, 2011 9:29 AM
Joined: 01/06/2008
Posts: 1064

John wrote:
 A lot of stuff that after spending almost 2 years in the region I have no arguments with; I will add that you will be at the whim and mercy of very generous and upwardly flexible tariffs in some places to get your parts. Local and Regional governments can pop up with some kind of tax as well.

Singapore however will be honest. They will be caned if they are not. If  you are in Singapore do not f-0-k around with drugs, or Indonesia. You can go to Four Floors of Whores or Alexis and kill a hooker no worries, $1000 clean up fee, done deal; just don't get caught with dope.

As for shipyard options in the region I will throw Australia into the mix. In Queensland you have viable options for large yachts in Cairns and Brisbane. Thing about work in Oz is it's slow. I've worked there twice; once as a partner migrant and once as a captain. Both times I was in the same shipyard in Brisbane with the same people lol. It's going to take forever and it's going to be expensive, but very high quality work is available if you know who to talk to. Parts are frustrating and you can just take your figured western yard costs and whack 30% on top for shipping and communications costs as well as 20% for slow motion penalties. This is also where the "forever" comes from. Parts for large yachts are in limited supply in Aus and if stocked will be in Sydney or Perth; minimum overnight, figure 3 days. If it has to come from the US or Europe it'll be a week.Australia is also high cost of living/expensive in general.

If I was servicing a yacht in the region again I would choose to  run it down to Cairns. It'll be honest and prices will be fair. At least the work will be good and you have an honest court system to protect you. It also will provide the best crew life options. For as exotic as SE Asia is, it gets boring and frustrating fast for me at least.

Posted: Saturday, December 17, 2011 9:56 AM
Joined: 17/12/2011
Posts: 2

I agree with you Hennng although it is nice to cruise Asia in the winter time in Europe after a few months of our Asia fix it is nice to go back to the real world in Europe too many scammers in Asia and I am not just taking about shipyards...authorities are a nightmare to deal with...once they see the big white boat its paycheck time.............!

Posted: Saturday, December 17, 2011 10:17 PM
Joined: 01/06/2008
Posts: 1064

In all fairness to Indonesia, as a people they are wholly impressive. If one has never experienced traffic in Jakarta one has not experienced traffic. It is dense. You need a scooter, only way. The cool thing is though, there is no road rage at all, none. Everybody just squeezes here and makes room there; maneuvering confident that people  will by nature avoid them. It would be fun if it weren't so damn filthy.

If anyone questions the value of the environmental legislation enacted in the early 70's I invite them to come visit Jakarta on a yacht. I spent several months there at Marina Batavia in Sunda Kelapa with a 110' Kingship and the hospitality as well as nasi goreng was first rate. They did what was required to accommodate my vessel; the first time I had to dredge my way through the fine silt  which we had to tear apart the heat exchanger in Padang a week later over. I asked if they could do some dredging and they did. My slip had at least 2m at low tide. Putu there is also a  master at handling Indonesian paperwork at very fair prices; always providing documents on time. On site is fine and you'll meet Mr Magoo eventually.

Posted: Monday, December 19, 2011 12:53 AM
Joined: 27/10/2008
Posts: 4

Noble House was not ripped off. Five months on hard stand under a shed for the equivalent of USD 250 a day. Extensive engine room pipework and all pumps overhauled and replaced. Superstructure modifications, teak decks recaulked and sections replaced, extensive new stainless steel fabrication (although ship all your stainless in as the Asian stuff is rubbish). Less than USD 1 million. Not perfect but after having spent USD 20 - 30 million in South Florida over the last 20 years I can guarantee you wouldn't have got out of Rybovich or Bradfords under $3.5M. Would I rather do it in So Fla? Hell yes, but the boss is $2mil up and the boats in the South Pacific. Asia is not the solution if you want to sit back and write checks, it requires some work.
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