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Helsinki Shipyard Denies Media Reports, Cites Vendor Dispute 

Helsinki Shipyard
(Helsinki Shipyard)

Published Sep 7, 2022 4:06 PM by The Maritime Executive

Helsinki Shipyard responded to media reports denying that one of its suppliers was pushing for the shipyard to be declared bankrupt. The yard dismissed the reports as a minor claim with a supplier that was in dispute. 

Reports in Finnish business media on Tuesday said that papers were being filed to force the shipyard into bankruptcy. According to the news outlets, a manufacturer of ship interiors, Merima Oy, was pushing the claims against the shipyard for unspecified outstanding debts. The shipyard responded saying it had not received information from the district court about a possible bankruptcy application.

“Merima Oy has a small disputed claim from Helsinki Shipyard Oy, the amount of which is well under 1 percent of the contract price, in other words, it is not a significant amount and we believe that it is negotiable,” the shipyard said in a public statement in response to the reports. “Merima has already been paid on September 7th the disputed claim in order to minimize the unreasonable reputational damage and damage it causes.”

The shipyard reports that they had complained to the company and that the dispute relates to a claim over “Merima’s defective delivery,” which Helsinki Shipyard further contends is still incomplete.

The sanctions placed against Russia earlier this year after the invasion of Ukraine have placed pressure on several companies with speculation over Helsinki Shipyard, which has business ties to Russia. Several of the shipyard’s current projects have direct or indirect links to Russia.

Helsinki Shipyard is currently building the third of three cruise ships for Swan Hellenic. Earlier in the summer, they found themselves in a difficult situation as Swan Hellenic had arranged financing for the construction of the cruise ships through a Russian financial institution. The Russians failed to make the final payment on the second cruise ship, SH Vega. Ultimately to provide a clear title to the cruise ship, Helsinki Shipyard announced it would auction the ship, with Swan Hellenic being declared the winner of the auction.

Russian mining firm Norilsk Nickel also placed an order at the shipyard for the construction of an icebreaker to operate in northern Siberia. The contract calls for a dual-fuel LNG vessel due for delivery in time for the 2025 winter season. Preliminary work had begun in late 2021 with construction scheduled to start in 2022. The new icebreaker, which would be the largest and most powerful diesel-electric icebreaker ever built in Finland, is a key part of the shipyard’s future work expected to support the employment of 2,100 workers at the yard and in the marine industry network.

Helsinki Shipyard in March reported that the Russian sanctions had no effect on its business or cash flow. The company reported that it had applied to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for an export license to build the icebreaker for the Russian mining company. The expedition cruise ship being built for Swan Hellenic is due for delivery in early 2023.