The ripple effect of the Hanjin saga has now been headline news for some time. One ship caught up in the process is the 65,184gt/1998 built Hanjin Rome that arrived in Singapore on 19th August. The ship got arrested, seized by creditors who were hoping to get at least some money back. The Captain and crew were not informed of the situation beforehand with the vessel then being instructed to proceed to anchor and await instruction complete with her crew of 25. Fresh provisions have been brought on board as well as some entertainment material, but the waiting is indefinite. Reports suggest that the ship’s Captain is already resigned to the ship’s almost certain disposal for scrap as she holds a value of $7.15 million. Some funds were released (an initial $10 million) to pay for tugs, port fees etc. to unload four U.S. bound vessels, the Hanjin Boston/Greece/Gdynia and Hanjin Jungil although the latter did not move initially. At the time 36 of the company’s 97 containerships were waiting off ports, 37 were waiting to unload and return to South Korea and 24 had unloaded.
Textainer Group Holdings Ltd. was one of many concerns to be dragged into the company’s demise when Hanjin rejected leases on its 20,000 containers but failed to return them to Asia as required. All chartered tonnage is being returned to the owners once unloading has taken place. The company had a total of 141 vessels and, out of the 97 container ships, 60 were chartered and 37 owned by Hanjin. Hanjin secured $45 million of funds to help unload an estimated $14 billion in cargo trapped on its ships but needed more money to pay port fees etc. A further $50 million in new loans came from top shareholder Korean Air Lines Co. as desperate attempts were made to end the supply-chain disruptions quickly, and the longer it takes to return the chartered ships, the more claims and debt will be accrued. The Korea Development Bank (KDB), the lead creditor of Hanjin Shipping Co. Ltd. was then considering lending $45 million to help unload the stranded cargo.
On 16th September another scenario arose concerning the Hanjin bankruptcy story. Despite a U.S. court granting Hanjin vessels temporary protection from arrest at U.S. ports, the 82,794gt/2005 built Hanjin Miami could become trapped at New York/New Jersey if the terminal refused to reload her with empty containers. Without sufficient cargo the ship would not be able to navigate under the Bayonne Bridge as her air draught would be too great. At the time of this issue being discussed the Hanjin Miami was off the coast of Virginia. Hanjin’s predicament had worsened at some ports, one example being the port of Virginia, which had introduced a $325 fee for each Hanjin vessel container handled at the port. After a three week wait at sea, the 113,042gt/2015 built and 10,000 TEU capacity Hanjin Bosal was able to berth at the port of Valencia on 19th September, her previous port being La Spezia. Valencia had been ready to handle the ship on three occasions in the previous few weeks, and had the manpower ready only for the call to be cancelled at the last minute by Hanjin. Seaspan manages the Hanjin Bosal on behalf of Greater China Investments, a joint venture between the shipowner and private equity group Carlyle. GCI has three more ships on charter to Hanjin, while Seaspan has a trio of sisterships leased to the bankrupt operator. The ships had been on charter to Hanjin for $43,000 per day for 10 years. That is an eyewatering amount of money and rather highlights the costs of running such ships. Otherwise anonymous containerships are becoming stars of the news for all the wrong reasons as the effects of Hanjin’s failure become felt across the globe. The 40,466gt/2009 built Hanjin Gydnia was another such ship and she was able to berth at Long Beach on the same day as her fleetmate in Valencia. The National Retail Federation and the Hardwood Federation in the U.S. led a coalition of 120 organisations in late September representing retailers, manufacturers, agribusinesses and other sectors affected by the Hanjin saga. There are fears about the fate of cargoes still encased in Hanjin ships.
As of 21st September a total of nine ‘hub’ safe haven ports across the globe where Hanjin Shipping’s ships could safely unload their cargoes without fear of arrest by creditors had been confirmed. In addition to Singapore, Hamburg and Long Beach, the other ports are Algeciras, Valencia, Oakland, New York, Seattle and Manzanillo. At the time of writing Singapore had yet to accept a ship and discharge cargo as negotiations were ongoing between Singapore’s PSA International and South Korea on the terms for the berthing of vessels. The situation with Manzanillo was also unconfirmed.
With new negotiations opened with Bangkok, Jebel Ali, Kobe and Melbourne. Additionally, the shipping line was seeking bankruptcy protection orders in Germany, the Netherlands, Spain and Italy, to be followed by applications at courts in the UAE, Australia, India, Canada, Belgium, Mexico, Vietnam, Chile and Bangladesh.
In late September the future of Hanjin Shipping was cast further adrift when the court overseeing its receivership announced that the line’s rehabilitation plan was ‘realistically impossible’ if key debts could not be cleared. Cargo owners have added to the whole debacle with Hanjin by withholding around $80 million in cargo fees for completed shipments.
In late September the 51,032gt/2013 built Hanjin Marine became the first Hanjin ship to call at one of the Northwest Seaport Alliance’s (NWSA) terminals since the collapse of the company. The terminal did not charge for import pickups but refused empty containers. The 45,169gt/2013 built Hanjin Scarlet had also joined her fleetmate at the anchorage. NWSA Olympic Container Terminal (OCT) in Tacoma is still not accepting or dispatching any empty Hanjin containers along with Husky Terminal in Tacoma.
As of 26th September five Hanjin ships were in limbo with three categorised as ‘arrested’, as the vessels were detained under court orders They were the 40,542gt/2009 built & 4,253 TEU Hanjin Dusseldorf, the 141,754gt/2012 built & 9,000 TEU Hanjin Sooho at the port of Ningbo, and the 91,621gt/2011 built & 6,100 TEU Hanjin Rotterdam at the port of Yantian. Another two ships are categorised as ‘vessel departure/arrival not available’, referring to vessels held by ports or terminal operators without court orders. These two are the 40,487gt/2008 built & 4,300 TEU Hanjin Kingston at Ningbo and the 37,199gt/2013 built & 3,560 TEU Hanjin Turkey at Xingang. A further two ships, the 141,754gt/2013 built & 13,092 TEU Hanjin Green Earth and 40,487gt/2008 built & 2,900 TEU Hanjin Piraeus were described as under way to Shanghai, which was interesting as China remained an ‘unfriendly’ location, as the jurisdiction does not support automatic recognition of overseas insolvency proceedings and neither does it provide alternatives.
The Hanjin New York dragged her anchor off Singapore on 30th September and collided with the 50,538gt/1989 built containership MSC Claudia. Both vessels were anchored at the Eastern Bunkering ‘A’ area near the Singapore Anchorage off Changi Naval Base. Ten containers from the Hanjin vessel fell onto the MSC ship’s bow, while another container fell into the sea.
A Scottish sailor stranded at sea for almost a month has spoken of his relief as he arrived back in the UK.
Ruaridh Hanna was one of four sea cadets from Clyde Marine Training who were on a college placement with South Korean company Hanjin Shipping when the firm hit financial trouble.
His ship, the Liberia-flagged Hanjin Louisiana, finally managed to dock in Singapore on 28th September after spending weeks drifting on the Indian Ocean.
The 22-year-old said, “It’s good to be back. The main concern for us all on the ship was just not knowing what was going on and not knowing when we were getting home. There was very little in the way of communication from the people we should have been getting information from. Every day we would wake up and wonder if we would get some news.”
Mr Hanna said at one point the ship was drifting for over a week while the crew listened to reports of pirate attacks in the nearby waters. “It’s a month ago today we got word from Hanjin saying do not go into any country’s territorial waters. It didn’t say anything else – it just said wait for further instruction,” he said.
“At that point we were drifting off Colombo, Sri Lanka, for nine days. It got to the point where we only had nine days of food left and we were told to take a six-day voyage to Singapore. If something had gone wrong in the Indian Ocean I don’t know what we would have done. While we were there we were getting reports of piracy attacks nearby. It was a real threat but we took measures to prevent it. Being at anchor there is not a measure any vessel owner would take lightly – you’re a sitting duck.”
Mr Hanna said it was third time lucky for the crew when they put into port at Singapore, with previous attempts to dock at Colombo and Singapore having fallen through. He said, “It was a really big relief and it was a bigger relief to get off the ship because some ships were being arrested in Singapore.”
It is almost certain now that Hanjin Shipping will disappear from the maritime scene and, as of early October, the future of ZIM is looking uncertain due to mounting losses.