Dolphin Geophysical files for bankruptcy

Oslo-listed seismic vessel operator Dolphin Group has announced today that it will file for bankruptcy.

Dolphin has been in talks with stakeholders over its debt issues but has failed to reach an agreement. The company’s board unanimously made the decision citing “the fact that the market has further deteriorated and that the expected timeline for an uplift in the market conditions has been further extended.”

Both the parent company Dolphin Group and operating subsidiary Dolphin Geophysical will file a petition for bankruptcy with its relevant court today.

Tim Wells, chairman and Atle Jacobsen, CEO of Dolphin, commented; “Due to the continued deterioration in the oil service market Dolphin has had to make the decision to file for bankruptcy. It is a difficult decision, but in light of the unpredictability of the oil price and subsequent spending cuts of our customers, it has become impossible to have the visibility needed to continue our business. We have worked diligently since 2011 to build Dolphin into a company that would benefit all of our stakeholders- shareholders, lenders, suppliers, customers and our employees.”

All trading of the company’s shares and bonds will be halted.

One company caught up by the filing is GC Rieber Shipping, who has had three vessels on charter to Dolphin. The company said it will immediately initiate a process to evaluate alternatives for employment of its seismic fleet. GC Rieber is currently owed around $20m and will seek to recover outstanding and future claims and losses, but it is uncertain how much it can recover.

The first warning sign of problems for Dolphin came when Sanco Shipping served the company with a notice of time charter termination for the seismic vessels Sanco Swift and Sanco Sword. Dolphin were believed to be in charter default, having recorded a net loss of $15m in its second quarter results.

Grant Rowles

Grant spent nine years at Informa Group based in London, Sydney, Hong Kong and Singapore. He gained strong management experience in publishing, conferences and awards schemes in the shipping and legal areas, working on a number of titles including Lloyd's List. In 2009 Grant joined Seatrade responsible for the commercial development of Seatrade’s Asia products. In 2012, with Sam Chambers, he co-founded Asia Shipping Media.
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