PAE Makes Good for Customer of N56 Motorsailer Accident Boat

Pacific Asian Enterprises finds a creative solution for the customer of a new Nordhavn 56 Motorsailer that sinks after a freak accident during the ship unloading process.
Nordhavn 56 Motorsailer Under Sail -- Photo: PAE

Nordhavn 56 Motorsailer Under Sail -- Photo: PAE

OceanLines readers are, for the most part, experienced boat owners themselves and most of them have a story or two to tell about their experiences with customer service.  It’s human to focus on the negative experiences; those times when a company failed to deliver on its expressed or implied level of service or quality of product.  But among the fundamental truths of the business world is the one that says a company can make a mistake, or suffer a third-party calamity and still be a good company.  It’s all in how the company reacts to the problem; how they ultimately stand up and face the problem.

In our most recent story, we reported on the accident last week in which a brand new Nordhavn 56 Motorsailer was damaged and sunk during an its unloading from a cargo ship.  Vessel Assist San Diego was able to salvage the yacht quickly and it is now up on the hard being inspected.  What follows is a remarkable description not only of the accident but how PAE developed and implemented a creative solution for its customer.  Dan Streech is co-Owner and President of PAE and he related the sequence of events.

Dan Streech’s description of the accident day’s events:

“Yes, there was a terrible accident last Saturday during the off-loading of MS56 #5 from the ship in San Diego. The Nordhavn was being lifted from the ship to the water in a conventional “two crane pick” using the ship’s cranes. The cranes were being operated by San Diego based Longshoreman who insist that the ship’s crew must stand aside while in that port. Lifting the yacht by the shipping cradle, one crane controlled the front and the other the back of the yacht/cradle. As the operators began their synchronized swing over the water, the operator at the bow inexplicably continued lifting.. When the yacht/cradle got to about 45 degrees, the poor Nordhavn spilled out the back and crashed to the deck of the ship and then into the water- total fall about 40-50 feet.

The contact with the ship mortally wounded the boat. She landed stern first in the water and righted herself but sunk in 35 feet of water within about 15 minutes. She was raised by Vessel Assist about 6 hours later using the “inflated bag” system and was brought to a San Diego shipyard.

Project manager Pete Eunson called Jim, Jeff and I within a few minutes and it wasn’t long before the PAE cell phone system was jammed with calls to all concerned.”

While part of the team worked on handling the insurance issues, the PAE leadership team assembled to discuss what they could do for the customer.  Streech continues his description with that subject:

“Simultaneous with the safety/legal/insurance side of this story, we of course had the customer/Buyer to think about. The gentleman who ordered MS56 #5 put a tremendous amount of thought, effort and passion into the project and was poised to depart on a dream cruise as soon as the boat was delivered. #5 was the first of the “without sailing cockpit” versions of the MS56 and this special option was developed for this Buyer. The design change turned out beautifully and the boat (with her blue hull) was absolutely gorgeous- in fact, stunning. Salesman Eric Leishman called the owner right away and kept him informed as the disaster developed and the eventual sinking took place. A meeting with the Buyer was scheduled for Monday morning to discuss the options going forward.

Prior to the meeting with the Buyer, Jim, Jeff and I together with a group of our managers met to pool what we knew and develop the several options available to the Buyer.

I was half way thru my soliloquy presentation to the Buyer when he raised his hand and cut me off saying “Ladies and Gentlemen, I want another boat just like the one that was lost. Build it for me ASAP- and, I want to continue with my cruising plans; what can you do for me?”

Before lunch, we had crafted a plan in which the Buyer would buy hull #2 which is in our Dana Point inventory. We would proceed to build an exact copy (which will be hull #8) of hull #5 (the lost boat) and we would take hull #2 back in trade when hull #8 is delivered in about 12 months.

The contracts were signed on Tuesday morning. Ta Shing (who was also put on notice on the Saturday of the accident) is spraying gel coat for hull #8 as I type this.”

Bottom line from the customer’s perspective?  He has a beautiful new boat — one very close to the one he specified (see the drawings on his unique configuration for the 56 MS here — he asked PAE to build a version of the MS without the sailing cockpit forward of the pilothouse).  In the meantime, the PAE factory has already begun building his new boat.  And all of this business concluded within 72 hours of the initial accident.  Yes, it helps that the customer proved to be, in Streech’s words, “logical, fair and sensible.”  Streech notes that for the remainder of his career with PAE “there will be a special gold star next” to this customer’s name.   It seems PAE itself has probably added at least one more gold star to its own industry-envied reputation as well.

Copyright © 2009 by OceanLines LLC

Posted by Tom

Tom Tripp is the owner of OceanLines LLC, the publisher of OceanLines and founder of Marine Science Today. He is an award-winning marine journalist, science writer and long-time public communications specialist. His PR career and much of his writing stems from the fact that he loves to explain stuff. It all began when he and his brother Mark threw all of Mom's tomatoes at the back wall of the house. . .