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Fire sale surrounding Hanjin Shipping continues

The fire sale related to the Hanjin Shipping fleet is picking up momentum. Two small bulk carriers, which had been on charter to the ailing line, have been sold. More sell-offs are likely as rivals eye assets linked to Hanjin.

Hanjin Shipping, which became the largest ever container shipping to file for bankruptcy at the end of last month, is paring back its dry bulk exposure.

Hi Gold 21 International, a Korean ship finance vehicle, has sold two handysizes – the Hanjin Liverpool and the Hanjin Isabel for $8m and $8.3m respectively, according to Clarksons Research.

The ships were sold to two unidentified Greek owners. Both vessels were built at Hyundai Vinashin in Vietnam in 2012 and come with four cranes each.

“The vessels had been fixed since newbuilding on a five year bareboat charter to Hanjin. However, due to the current situation the vessels were redelivered early and subsequently sold by their financiers with their special surveys and dry dockings due,” Clarksons noted in its latest weekly report.

Elsewhere, in the fast developing narrative of Hanjin’s court receivership, the line’s former chairwoman Choi Eun-young has announced plans to provide KRW10bn won ($9m) of her own money to help the line.

Choi is a controversial character. During her tenure from 2007 to 2014, the debt-equity ratio of Hanjin Shipping soared from 15% to 1,400%. She was also investigated recently over insider trading allegations related to a significant share sell off in the days running up to Hanjin’s restructuring announcement in April this year.

As well as Choi’s KRW10bn commitment, parent group Hanjin Group has committed KRW100bn to the line but the government appears to be stepping back from pumping extra funds into the company, leaving it on the brink of extinction as analysts say it needs at least another KRW490bn to keep operating.

Meanwhile, concern is growing for the crew and their supplies on the many stranded ships around the world. More than 40 ships are still idling in international waters for fear of being arrested.

“Necessary supplies to vessels are being provided,” a Hanjin spokesperson insisted to Splash.

However, fuel supplies are understood to be getting low on a number of ships. One captain of a Hanjin ship told the Wall Street Journal how his crew had cut air conditioning onboard to save power.

For Splash‘s full, unrivalled coverage of the decline and fall of Hanjin Shipping, click here.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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