$2 million bolts

The lynx is gone, but the legal wranglings continue. The Nanaimo Harbour Lynx faced a critical blow to their cash flow when it blew the starboard engine, just a little under two years ago. The company that ran it, investors from Victoria, went into bankruptcy and ceased to operate shortly after. The boat was subsequently repaired and purchased by a third party, who tried to make a go of it, but instead sold it back to the original builders, Fjellstrand of Norway, citing lack of civic / provincial political and financial backing.

The whole event illustrates the lengthy process after a mechanical breakdown and the importance of record keeping, not to mention corner cutting.

The story I heard about this boat, was that it was originally built for a ferry operation in the Philippines. They ran it until the engine were due for a major rebuild, (30k hrs) then sold it to Harbour Lynx. They used it for a little while and did the major engine rebuild using appropriate MTU technicians – Cullen – the article mentions Cullen in Nanaimo, but I had heard it was Kamloops that did these MTU rebuilds. My sources say the rebuild was done on time, unfortunately not all the MTU required items for the rebuild were done.

I am not entirely familiar with these engines (MTU 16V 396), but from what I gather, it is necessary to renew bolts on the crankshaft counterweights at a set time. This was spec’d, and done according to the service report, but the part list later revealed that indeed the necessary parts for that particular job were not used. The bolts fretted and the play caused them to shear off, sending the counterweight through the block.

This has always been an interesting story for me, from a engineer diligence perspective. Unfortunately mistakes are made, some that seemed to be a minor oversight, has caused great grief to many a good people involved in this venture.

Anyways, here is the local paper’s article on the ongoing legal issue…

$2 Million HarbourLynx lawsuit proceeds
Defunct company blames firm for engine failure
Nanaimo Daily News, March 06, 2009

A $2-million lawsuit launched by the former Nanaimo-based HarbourLynx passenger ferry service will continue after a B.C. Supreme Court decision.

HarbourLynx is suing Cullen Diesel Power, which was contracted to overhaul the engines for the vessel in February 2003 through its Nanaimo branch. On Feb. 1, 2006, an engine failed and HarbourLynx ended the venture.

“The plaintiff claims that Cullen Diesel failed to adequately perform the overhaul of the engines and the plaintiff or (Nanaimo Harbour Link Corporation) or both of them have suffered damages, expenses, and losses because of the failure of the starboard engine. The amount of the claim has not been quantified, but is estimated to be in the $2 million range” stated Justice Jane Dardi.

Cullen made several arguments seeking to have the case dismissed, including that under contract law HarbourLynx is barred from seeking damages. They also claimed there was no evidence HarbourLynx could dispute. But Dardi agreed with HarbourLynx that even if Cullen was right about the contract law and a duty of care issue, they had yet to determine what evidence could be disputed since Cullen had not disclosed any documents or testified in discovery hearings.

The suit was brought by HarbourLynx in April 2007, and Cullen had sought a summary trial without disclosing its documents. Part of Dardi’s legal analysis over the last year has centred around the legal meaning of the word “equipment” in dismissing the application for the summary trial.

She granted HarbourLynx the right to examine evidence from Cullen.

Picture of the Harbourlynx is from Kevin Stapletons’ website go there for more.

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