New Orleans-based offshore support vessel (OSV) company Harvey Gulf International Marine (HGIM) has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in a Texas court, according to Reuters.
The company and 90 of its affiliates filed separately at the Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas in Houston but requested joint administration of the cases.
HGIM operated vessels mainly in the US Gulf of Mexico and has a fleet of more than 50 ships, many of them supplying oil rigs.
It has more than $1bn in debt and has agreements from the majority of its creditors to reorganise and reduce debts in return for the creditors getting shares in the firm after it comes out of Chapter 11.
Harvey is a Jones Act compliant business, meaning it meets the requirements that ships transporting items between US ports should be built, owned, flagged and crewed by US parties.
In May 2017, the company – a large donor to Republican Party politicians – took a full-page ad in the Wall Street Journal newspaper in which it appealed to US President Donald Trump to end the practice of granting exemptions to non-Jones Act-compliant companies running OSVs.
But the request fell on deaf ears.
The previous administration of President Barack Obama had proposed repealing such exemptions but US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) withdrew the Obama proposal just days after Harvey’s advert was published.