U.S. Court Orders Release of Arrested TMT Ship
A U.S. judge has ruled that Taipei-based Shanghai Commercial Bank must cooperate with the TMT shipping line and release its 37,000-ton bulk carrier, C Handy. This follows a similar ruling last month on TMT vessel B Handy.
TMT, a Taiwanese shipping line, is looking to restructure its business using American Chapter Eleven legislations - which allows companies to keep operating during financial difficulties. Nobu Su, the owner of the TMT shipping line, has argued that it makes more sense for his creditors, including the Shanghai Commercial Bank, to allow him to keep trading and earn money to settle his debts.
U.S. District Judge Lynn N. Hughes has now ordered the Taiwanese Shanghai Commercial Bank to cease its arrest of the C Handy, a two-year-old Hyundai-built vessel, and allow Nobu Su’s money held in a retention account to be used to pay for bunker, crew and other charges so that the C Handy can start trading again. The bank did not oppose the move.
Su hailed the court’s decision “as a welcome step forward in my efforts to keep Taiwan in the forefront of the shipping business, despite the wish of many other European shipping lines to see me closed down as a competitor coming from Asia. I welcome the fact that the banks are now seeking consensus and I will work with them in that spirit.”
In London this week, Su met with cargo brokers and traders from Antwerp and Immingham who expressed their hope that his C Ladybug cargo ships would soon be back, as freight rates had raised by up to 25% in the absence of competition from TMT. Nobu was told that people had lost their jobs in Antwerp because maneuvers by one creditor bank were still delaying C Ladybug’s release.
A TMT spokesperson said: “There are cargoes ready to go to Africa and Asia from Antwerp and Immingham and cargo agents are keen to work with TMT so that prices can come down to normal. The delaying actions by one of our creditors banks is a problem we shall work hard to overcome. “
Mr Su continues to financially support the crewmembers of the C Ladybug who have suffered great hardship, as they are held almost as prisoners on their ship because of the action by one bank in Taiwan.
Nobu Su recently signed an important new contract for TMT - one of his tankers, C Elephants, has been chartered by Chevron to carry crude. He believes that with nearly all of his ships out of their difficulties and back earning money he can restore TMT to profitability and success as a global Asia-based shipping line.