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YWAM Ships Newcastle Ltd: where are the ships?

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‘Two YWAM ships missing’. That could be the title but, although true, it would be misleading. True because, although there is no suggestion that the s/v Rauch and Rakiura are lost at sea, they are, without explanation, missing – missing from the accounts of the YWAM charity that runs them[1].

The Directors’ Report says that ‘The principal activity of YWAM Ships Newcastle Limited during the financial year was the structuring, planning, organisation and promotion of two vessels, the s/v Ruach and Rakiura’ [Financial Report 2018]. But neither of these ships are shown in the balance sheet, neither are mentioned in the Notes to the accounts, and the two expenses[2] below are the only mention of the fleet in the entire Report:

Come on directors[3], how can that be a true and fair view[4]?

But it’s worse: without explanation, you’ve got not a dollar of non-current (long-term) assets in the balance sheet. No plant and equipment of any description. And you give no explanation for (a) charging $16K depreciation when you don’t have any depreciable assets, and (b) including somewhere between $25K and $39K of equipment in profit and loss.

And on the other side of the ledger, you’ve classified the $525K of borrowings[5] as ‘Trade and other payables’. Why?

To cap it off, your auditor[6] not only gives you a ‘clean’ opinion for all this but fails to mention that there are only $45K of assets available in the next 12 months to cover over $528K of short-term liabilities payable in the same period.

I hope, for the sake of Newcastle[7], you can sail better than you can account.



  1. A piece in the Catholic news publication mnnews.today tells me that ‘YWAM Ships Newcastle’ is seeking your donation to help run their yachts, including the s/y Ruach. This ship, loaded with volunteers, equipment and supplies, goes to PNG (primarily) to help the government with the healthcare of its citizens. The donation won’t get the Gospel shared (they have DGR status as a Public Benevolent Institution), but from all accounts they are doing, or setting up to do, valued good works.
  2. Here are the expenses that made double figures (comprising 76% of the total expenses):Insurance 33KDiesel for ships 31KFood/consumables 21KPort charges 17KDepreciation immediate write off 16KSafety equipment and certification 13K

    Deck equipment 11K

    Maintenance Rakiura 10K

  3. They are not shown on the website, but on the ACNC Register it is these people:

*Carolyn Stephenson

Christopher Ryburn

*David Stephenson

Julia Jordanov

*Juliane Af Petersens

Michael Thorpe (or is he just the Secretary?)

*Sarah McCutcheon

The four marked with a * are also the four directors of Youth With A Mission Newcastle Incorporated, a charity that got a qualified audit report last year, plus makes no mention of YWAM Ships Newcastle Limited.

4. Which is what they say in the Directors’ Declaration [Financial Report 2018].

5. It is interesting that another ‘YWAM’, with a turnover of only $1.59 million, was able to lend this amount – and apparently is willing to lend more. Youth With A Mission Newcastle Incorporated

6. Neil Watson of KLM Accountants.

7.  The mayor has given the charity the key to the city, the ship is one of Newcastle’s Ambassadors, and the charity is closely connected with recent honour at Buckingham Palace.