Paul Strachan - Pandaw Founder Wrote about What Went Wrong with the Andaman Explorer
by Blake Johnson Jun 30, 2017
A number of staffs asked me what happened with MY Andaman Explorer, the classic yacht to explore Mergui Archipelago. It is not happy but I have not hidden the truth from our Pandaw community. So here is its story...
It is the first I saw this ship in Dubai in November 2016 that I fell in love. It is originally a Norwegian Coastguard ship, and then converted in Italy as a billionaire's play thing. We bought and renewed it to be fit to go to the sea. It is difficult that we have to pay the money for all troubles as beginning. We planned to renew it in Thailand, so we hired a delivery company to send it from Dubai.
However, after weeks of wait, all we were received are excuses from Indian master. We didn't understand why they couldn't sail. Eventually, we decided to contract with an English skipper to keep on this work. When across the Indian Ocean, some parts broke and in a bad condition. So we sent it to Ranong, the Thai port closed to the Myanmar border, because services would be much better there than in Yangon. After that, in February Captain Peter met this ship and offered to be finished until September for the first expedition.
We get troubles when working in Ranong. It was an old smuggling town run by a mafia. Local suppliers often tended to promise much and deliver little. Eventually, we found a reliable firm of engineers in Bangkok to totally reconstruct this ship.
The ship was installed a new air conditioning system, new water makers and navigation systems and electronics. In September, it could sail to Singapore for a class survey. Unfortunately, the dockyard found problems with the propulsion system. So it lasted 3 weeks to come back Myanmar for the first cruise in October. And we again got a new set of problems here: the port authorities would not let our expat management on boat. It is because that they had business visas and not tourist visas. Our first passengers had to wait many days to process all papers. Finally, we went to the sea without our management team. All of us expected an actual cruising with the mysterious things. But we got into trouble again in the port of Mergui Archipelago. They supposed that we are a sea going ship and required the far more stringent certification. The ship could be detained interminably, so we were forced to evacuate our passengers to Yangon.
Two weeks later, the ship was released and continued to Yangon. We decided to cancel all cruises until January to further refit work of the generators. Back "home" in Yangon, everything moved much faster than in Thailand. All went to schedule and we returned our target.
After a lot of difficulties, now the ship is fully registered and licensed. Having spent on the refit three times, the ship really is lovely with its elegant lines and graceful curves. There are more than 3 dinning areas, 2 outdoor and 1 indoor. In spite of this long tale of troubles, we are now ready to do great things with a new chapter of Pandaw's maritime revolution.
Maritime Myanmar is one of the world's great secrets. Book your own cruise with our Mergui Archipelago Cruises to explore this awesome beauty and have remarkable experiences that you have never seen before. Contact us today for the best price!