US shipbuilder VT Halter Marine, part of Singapore’s ST Engineering, has pressed ahead with its action against Ezra Holdings, now serving a statutory demand related to action it is taking against EMAS Chiyoda Subsea (ECS) over the breach of a loan agreement.
VT Halder Marine filed a civil action lawsuit against ECS on February 27 in the United States District Court with claims amounting to $3,298,153.22 and guaranteed by Ezra Holdings.
The demand gives the Singapore company 21 days to pay the outstanding amount or VT Halter Marine will apply to wind up Ezra in the Singapore courts.
VT Halder Marine is the second company to serve Ezra with such a demand. Last month, Norway’s Forland Subsea served a statutory demand over NOK25.5m ($3.09m) owed for the charter of subsea vessel Lewek Inspector.
ECS filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last week and around $400m of its liabilities and around $500m of loans owing to financial institutions are guaranteed by Ezra. The company said last week that it faces an immediate going concern issue “in the event claims are made against the company in relation to any or all of these guarantees.”
Separately, ECS has applied in the US Bankruptcy court to cancel five vessel contracts it described as burdensome. It has asked for permission to terminate deals for AMC Ambassador, Lewek Champion, Lewek Constellation, Lewek Express and Lewek Falcon.
ECS blames a combination of low market demand, high charter rates, Emas-AMC Norway liquidating, and in the case of Lewek Champion the vessel’s arrest for it wanting to cancel the deals. The company cites a provision in the bankruptcy code which “allows a trust to relieve the bankruptcy estate of burdensome agreements which have not been completely performed.”