29 January 2017

Rickmers Maritime scraps second ship in two months

Rickmers Maritime has sold its second container ship for scrap in as many months as the financially troubled Singapore-based charter ship manager struggles to pay off its debts.

Container lines and shipowners have been increasing scrapping activity to bring container shipping supply and demand in balance, but a surge in mega-ship deliveries in 2017 could make that goal elusive. Around 1.7 million 20-foot-equivalent units of container ship capacity are expected to be delivered in 2017, more than double the 717,000 TEUs that will likely be scrapped this year, according to IHS Markit data.

Rickmers said it will book an impairment loss of approximately $31.6 million in the fourth quarter for the sale of the Kaethe C Rickmers.

The 2004-built vessel with a capacity of 5,060 TEUs has a value of around $6.3 million, according to IHS Markit data.

Rickmers said the proceeds of the sale will go towards paying the operating costs of “secured” vessels under a loan facility by the HSH syndicate — the Singapore branch of Germany’s HSH Nordbank and DBS Bank — and partially repay the loan.

The sale of the Kaethe C Rickmers follows the disposal in November — also for demolition — of the seven-year-old, 4,250-TEU Rickmers India, the youngest vessel to be scrapped at the time, to partially pay off a loan from German bank Commerzbank AG.

The two sales have reduced Rickmers Maritime’s fleet to 14, all classic Panamax vessels of 4,000 to 5,100 TEUs that are facing a bleak future of tumbling freight rates and unemployment following the opening of the enlarged Panama Canal last summer that can handle ships of up to 13,500 TEUs.

Rickmers’ survival is under threat after bondholders rejected its planned debt restructuring measures at a meeting in late December.

The Rickmers India has lost its status as the youngest scrapped ship following reports that the 4,249 Hammonia Reederei, a German-owned vessel that is a few months younger, has been sold for demolition after coming off hire to Maersk Line in November.

Source: 26 January 2017

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