Stranded Scottish Cadets Disembark Hanjin Ship

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By MarEx 2016-09-28 21:27:04

Until today, four Scottish cadets were stuck aboard the container vessel Hanjin Louisiana as she lay at anchor off Singapore. On Wednesday, weeks after her planned arrival, the vessel finally received permission to dock, allowing the cadets to depart and return to their studies. 

Seafarers union Nautilus International, which had advocated for the cadets' safe return, named the four students as Ruaridh Hanna, David Gorniak, Graeme Deacon and Gavin McPhail. 

Hanjin Shipping's vessels have been stranded all over the world following the firm's financial collapse. Creditors wish to seize its ships, and ports have been reluctant to provide services until they have assurance that they will be paid – making docking a difficult proposition for much of Hanjin’s fleet.

Like the United States and South Korea, Singapore has given Hanjin bankruptcy protection, allowing its vessels to enter the port without fear of arrest. Hanjin has also secured millions in funding to unload its stranded vessels. 

Hanjin may be sold in its entirety

Separately, on Wednesday, the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg reported that a South Korean bankruptcy court is exploring the sale of Hanjin as a single going concern, rather than liquidating its assets.

Speculation on potential buyers has centered on Maersk and Cosco. Maersk recently stated an interest in growing its market share through acquisitions, but both lines have denied that they have any intention of purchasing Hanjin. 

Maersk Line spokesman Michael Storgaard derided the reports, comparing them to tabloid speculation about a Hollywood star. 

Hanjin company representatives say that they have not discussed a sale with Maersk, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Earlier Korean media reports suggested that compatriot line Hyundai Merchant Marine might buy some of Hanjin's owned vessels, leaving the rest of the company. HMM itself is in the middle of a restructuring, and analysts say that it might need government assistance to complete any new acquisitions. 

Any purchaser of Hanjin as a whole would have to contend with its heavy debt load, and analysts suggest that Hanjin’s competitors might do better by picking up select vessel assets – if anything at all. The global container market is characterized by a large existing orderbook, low utilization and a large number laid-up ships, reducing the value of second-hand tonnage. Drewry calculated the idle container fleet at 300 vessels and 800,000 TEU as of July, about four percent of the world total. “Growing over-capacity means that the increase in the idle fleet now happens across all ship sizes and apparently in all seasons," Drewry warned.