Shipping Industry Problems

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Most maritime shipping companies were operating profitably through the summer of 2008 until the "perfect storm" of the credit crisis and the worldwide recession struck, leading to the collapse of both the commodity and freight markets. The resulting upheaval has affected trade credits, shipbuilding deliveries, orders, chartering, and sales-and-purchases, among other things, for shipping companies worldwide. Reports of bankruptcy, insolvency, liquidation and complex debt restructurings of shipping and other maritime industry companies have begun surfacing in the trade press, with more to come.

As a result of the turmoil in the shipping industry, actions seeking attachments under Supplemental Admiralty Rule B of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure have risen dramatically, further exacerbating the problems facing cash-strapped shipping companies. As the recent U.S. bankruptcy filings of Armada (Singapore) Pte. Ltd. and Atlas Shipping A/S demonstrate, Chapter 15 bankruptcy proceedings under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code may provide struggling shipping companies with a powerful tool for protecting their assets from Rule B Attachments.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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