Ultrapetrol loses its charter to Petrobras too

After prematurely terminating its charters of Siem Offshore and World Wide Supply vessels, Petrobras is cancelling its contracts on three of Ultrapetrol’s platform supply vessels.

Ultrapetrol’s PSVs UP Amber, UP Pearl, and UP Esmeralda are all registered in Panama, which enables unemployed Brazilian tonnage to ‘block’ the annual renewal of the certification that gives foreign-flagged vessels a licence to operate in Brazilian waters.

“The company is exploring alternative courses of action to remedy the situation, including negotiations with Petrobras and employment in other offshore markets,” Ultrapetrol said in a statement today.

The NASDAQ-listed company said it has six other PSVs under charter to Petrobras that operate under the Brazilian flag or with Brazilian special registries (known as ‘REB rights’).

“Additionally, the non-Brazilian flagged RSV UP Coral has recently commenced a six-year contract to provide subsea support services to Petrobras, while the two laid-up North Sea vessels, UP Agate and UP Jasper, are currently participating in tenders to enter service with Petrobras as an RSV subsea support vessel and a PSV with REB rights, respectively,” Ultrapetrol said.

In Brazil, vessels must have their Certification of Charter Authorisation (CAA) and Registration Certificate of Temporary Foreign Vessels (AIT) certificates renewed annually in order to operate in Brazilian waters under a foreign flag.

Under Brazilian law, when a foreign-flagged vessel comes to renew its CAA and AIT certificates, the renewal can be ‘blocked’ by an unemployed Brazil-flagged ship that is built to the same specification, which can take over the foreign vessel’s employment contract.

Today it was confirmed Petrobras has prematurely terminated its timecharter of two offshore supply vessels owned by Norway’s World Wide Supply (WWS) for the same reason.

Siem Offshore’s platform supply vessel (PSV) Siem Carrier also today fell victim to a contract cancellation from the Brazilian energy producer.

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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