They might be small at just 6,600 dwt each, but in the big picture the three newbuild contracts announced from Jinhae in South Korea today could be crucial in saving a famous name in shipbuilding.
STX Offshore & Shipbuilding revealed today it has signed a deal with an unidentified local shipping line to build three small product tankers for delivery in 2022. The yard, which state-run banks put into restructuring seven years ago, was at risk of running out of business – its backlog of orders prior to today’s announcement stood at just seven ships, all to be delivered by the the first quarter of next year.
Workers at the hard-pressed yard have only just returned to work after a nearly two-month long strike in a bid to get management to stop the six-month unpaid furloughs, which half of about 500 unionised workers have taken in rotation since June 2018.
The yard is still seeking a buyer to take it over. As recently as eight years ago, STX was the world’s fourth largest shipbuilding group but financial scandals and a severe drop in orders plunged the yard into chaos in 2013 with many affiliates since sold off.
Formerly known as Ssangyong Heavy Industries, the yard was taken over and rebranded as STX in the year 2000.