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It now appears that travel restrictions are here to stay for potentially years as the mutations of the COVID spread globally. Projects and operations can only be stalled for a certain amount of time before the requirement for the vessels, be it PSV’s. Crew Boats, AHT’s, tankers, or other work boats/ ships.
This leads to the dilemma of buyers not being able to send their experienced crew or personally inspecting a vessel prior to purchase. It is often the case now that a surveyor that is local to the country where the vessel is located would be appointed to conduct a Pre Purchase Inspection on their behalf.
Final acceptance can follow upon delivery which is subject to final inspection by buyers and sea trial.
The effort and expenses to travel with crew, quarantine and difficult flight connections can drain the buyer’s personnel and out of pocket expenses on a report from often someone or a business that you have had no prior business experience with.
There are a few things you can do prior to engaging a surveyor to inspect a vessel on your behalf. Your decision for the purchase of the vessel would be based on the report that you receive. I have seen many survey reports that are very disappointing. The details on the report are gathered mostly just from the documentation which is already available and there is little information on the true condition of the vessel or equipment.
I would suggest firstly that the surveyor is a member of a reputable Marine Survey Institute/ Association. Here it would may be the Australian Institute of Marine Surveyors for example. Members of these associations are checked for their qualifications / experience and are required to continually expand their knowledge via courses, webinars and forums to ensure that they are current with regulations, technology and design.
It could be requested prior to engaging also that a sample copy of a previous report be sent so you understand what the surveyors’ format and details are. As most inspections are time sensitive, if your report is received and lacking the details in which you require, then it may be difficult to appoint another surveyor due to time constrains.
The Surveyor will work for you. If you wish to have particular equipment, machinery or focus on other points of concern, you should clearly state to the surveyor that you wish for this. If the points concerning are available for inspection or operation, then this should be no issue.
Finally, our thoughts are with the crew of MT Iba. For 4 years now, they have been abandoned on board a tanker in the Gulf in the UAE. Thank you to the Mission for Seafarers for their assistance in keeping the crew alive. Let’s hope some sense prevails and the crew can return to their families soon and this nightmare ends. For a more detailed report, please see below link from Maritime News.
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