US Coast Guard blog posts have set out what happens if a bankrupt manufacturer changes hands. But Paul Gunton wonders what will happen if there is no buyer.
As you know, since we last met, Erma First’s First Fit has become the sixth US Coast Guard type-approved BWMS and Samsung has submitted an application for its Purimar system.
Something we didn’t know – at least, I didn’t know – was what happens to a system’s USCG type-approval if a system changes hands, as OceanSaver’s did when its assets were acquired by the IMS Group.
Well, we know now. The US Coast Guard issued a blog post in September to say that the new owner should ask the Coast Guard to update its name and address. IMS group member TeamTec did that and a new certificate was issued on 18 October.
But what if no buyer had come forward?
That USCG posting – and a later one in October announcing the new OceanSaver certificate – explained what would happen “if the equipment fails to operate and parts from the original equipment manufacturer are no longer available.”
That may be the situation if another manufacturer with a type-approved system goes out of business.
So let’s look at the rest of that sentence: “… then the equipment is no longer operating under its type-approval and must be replaced.”
There’s no option to fit third-party, so-called ‘pirate’ replacements: if a component breaks and no parts from the original manufacturer are available, the equipment must be replaced. That’s expensive.
One of the objections to the huge cost of fitting a BWMS is that, once the ship goes to scrap, that value is lost. Well, maybe not. I foresee a market in original spare parts. Any owner faced with the choice of replacing a whole BWMS or buying a used but original part to keep it operating under its type-approval will pay good money for that component.
In the motor trade it’s called ‘breaking for spares’. I’m off now to work on my price points.