LETTER | Liftboat designer claims misrepresentation

Dear Editor,

We read with interest your article on Work Boat World, Rich Flags, Poor Reports.

Of particular interest was your reference to our firm as “little known” and your publication of baseless allegations impugning our reputation.

Our company is headquartered in the birthplace of liftboats, South Louisiana, USA.  You have even featured a few of our designs in your magazine.

Permit me to encapsulate our resume with a few bullet points.

  • Designers of the four largest liftboats in the world.
  • Our principal was one of the contributors to the only liftboat-specific guide in the world, the ABS Liftboat Guide. He has been requested to provide opinion to other IACS member societies in their development of similar rules.
  • Designers of the largest number of modern liftboats in the USA.

There is a lot we can add to this list but we value your time, as we do ours. Our point is to refute your characterisation of our company and request appropriate correction.

There are a number of glaring inaccuracies which we can help enlighten the author on.

  • The original design is nothing like the brochure picture that has been published. In fact, the graphic does not even match the description in the brochure itself. I wish the author had bothered to contact us. Publishers worldwide have done that. We are easily approachable.
  • What is extremely injurious to the international stellar reputation of our organisation is your publishing of the “allegations”. I know you do not have the duty to disclose the identity of these rumour mongers who have misled you. I would, however, have expected you to exercise due diligence to authenticate your information before publishing it.
  • For the record, there were no “changes” made that left the vessel with “higher displacement”.  There were no “side spud cans” added. In short, they were no corrective changes made to the vessel, as insinuated, after it was built.

What is the meaning of “design compliance”? Is the author aware that the vessel is IACS member society classed? In other words, ABS is an IACS member.

By the way, the background reference given deals with very old designs which would not even pass class requirements today. The body of knowledge has increased considerably beyond this archaic reference.

Your magazine is not just another cash register gossip magazine from which such malicious gossip can be ignored.  It is a serious publication that has ridden itself into the muck, on the back of an ignorant author who will not even put his/her name to what he/she writes.

At this point I have no reason to believe that the inaccuracies have any intention of slander. I also believe that your interest is in publishing the truth.

The power of the pen is mighty and should be handled with care.

In conclusion, we share with the author the frustration of not knowing what happened. We are all looking for answers. You cannot get answers by lashing out indiscriminately at anything in sight. All it does is muddy the water, obscuring the truth.

Regards,

Ajay Suda

President

AK Suda


Mr Suda has obviously misunderstood our article.

We published the story because we were concerned that more than 18 months after the incident, the flag state has not provided a public report into why the liftboat turned over under tow to Taiwan. We have just checked on January 14 and there are two new investigation reports up on the Singapore MOT site, but not one into Teras Lyza. Until a comprehensive report is provided by Singapore flag state, unfortunately, nobody in the marine industry can be sure of the root cause of the accident, and how to prevent it happening again.

As designers, I would hope that Mr Suda and his colleagues share our desire that the results of the independent third party investigation are published promptly, so that the causes of the loss of Teras Lyza are widely disseminated and that similar incidents do not occur again in future.

Until a report is available, we cannot know what happened and why, and the operators and crew of other liftboats cannot be certain that they are not repeating mistakes which could have disastrous consequences. Class and flag states, owners, insurers and warranty surveyors need a definitive report on the loss to ensure that remedial action can be taken on other liftboats still in service, if necessary, and acceptable operational parameters can be changed, if needed.

Mr Suda is correct that the power of the pen is mighty, and so the Singapore MOT should be publishing a report to ensure the industry learns from Teras Lyza’s loss.

– Editor


Baird Maritime

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