Tanker Operator Primorsk Files for Bankruptcy
Ice-class tanker operator and ship management firm Primorsk International Shipping, founded in 1972 as a Soviet shipping company, has filed for bankruptcy in a New York court.
Primorsk, with offices in Nakhodkha, specializes in tanker transportation in arctic conditions, and contracts with oil majors and other firms to provide high latitude crude and product transport. Despite profitability it has reportedly been in talks to restructure its debt for more than a year. Primorsk took large loans ten years ago to enlarge its tanker fleet, but it has had to steadily sell off its ships in order to pay off its debt, and now its creditors are reportedly pushing to liquidate its remaining fleet.
In better days, the firm operated a fleet of over forty ships, according to the company's official history. It was a diversified global company with nearly 3,000 employees and multiple subsidiaries in maritime and non-maritime fields. Oil transport from the fields at Sakhalin Island was one of its largest sources of income, but it also engaged in export/import and international liquid bulk shipping.
Two additional companies working with Primorsk, a training branch and a crewing / ship management agency, are separate entities and are not party to the filing, reports the Wall Street Journal.
In 2015, Primorsk exited a joint venture with M.C. Reiber for the construction and ownership of the Polar Pevek, an icebreaking tug on long term charter serving tankers at the De-Kastri / Sakhalin 1 terminal in the Russian Far East. Primorsk sold its 50 percent share in the vessel to an investment firm. In 2014, the firm sold the 2007-built Suezmax crude tanker Prisco Alcor to Malaysian FPSO operator Bumi Armada for conversion.