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NewLead bulker sold at auction

NewLead Holdings’ disputed bulk carrier  NewLead Castellano has been sold at action in the US for $7.4m to Singapore’s MT Maritime Management.

The handymax vessel (pictured) was arrested off Savannah, Georgia on April 19 this year by Ray Capital, one of NewLead’s creditors, which claimed $7.1m relating to an unpaid promissory note.

A crew of largely Filipino seafarers has been forced to stay onboard the vessel since April and have reportedly not been paid in several months.

Creditors have ensured the supply of food and water to the ship and a priest has visited several times to perform Mass, according to local reports. The crew are expected to be repatriated within the coming weeks.

Ray Capital and its co-plaintiffs Oppenheim Capital, Cheyenne Holdings and Labroy Shiptrade all hold NewLead promissory notes, which were secured with registered mortgages against Newlead Castellano. Only Ray Capital defaulted on its note, while the others remain current noteholders, NewLead told Splash in July.

NewLead filed a motion to vacate the arrest on May 3, which countered that Ray Capital was obliged under the conditions of the promissory note agreement to sell 20% of the monthly dollar volume of NewLead’s common stock – but did not. Because of this, NewLead said, there is no event of default that would permit the note holders/plaintiffs to seize the Newlead Castellano.

After some legal wrangling, on August 4 the judge allowed Ray Capital to arrest the vessel on the grounds that Newlead had defaulted on at least one of the preferred mortgages on NewLead vessels, but ruled that the Ray Capital does not have a maritime lien on the vessel.

Holly Birkett

Holly is Splash's Online Editor and correspondent for the UK and Mediterranean. She has been a maritime journalist since 2010, and has written for and edited several trade publications. She is currently studying for membership of the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers. In 2013, Holly won the Seahorse Club's Social Media Journalist of the Year award. She is currently based in London.


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