Swan necked


  • Date: 08/10/2019

A naval architect designed a series of motor yachts for a yard. As part of the design contract, they were required to provide a drawing showing the down flooding points of the yacht. This drawing was to be provided on an “as built” basis. However, the drawing was never provided.

One of the yachts produced by the yard suffered water ingress through the engine inlet in heavy weather causing engine damage. The cause was due to the pipe attached to engine inlet valve parting. The yard alleged they were not aware that the water inlet was the critical down-flooding point and if they did, they would have made the fitting stronger.

The yard submitted a claim of EUR 180,000 to the naval architect in respect of the engine damage and rectification costs.

ITIC defended the claim on the basis that the “as built” 3-d model of the yacht produced by the yard showed a swan neck fitting on the engine inlet pipe. The only reason this fitting would be used in the final build was due to the yard knowing that the inlet was a down flooding point. The swan neck fitting was there to raise the down flooding point. Furthermore, the naval architect was not responsible for the material used. It was clear the fitting used to attach the pipe to the inlet was weak and contrary to class regulations. The yard was clearly at fault in using inferior quality material.

The yard on the other hand claimed that if the drawing had been supplied, they would have known the inlet was a down flooding point and they would have used stronger materials.

Although ITIC felt the naval architect had the better case they were clearly in breach of the design contract by not providing the “as built” drawing which meant that there was an element of litigation risk. ITIC therefore suggested an offer of EUR 55,000 be made in respect of unrecoverable costs and litigation risk. This was eventually accepted.

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