British Cadets Stuck On Hanjin Boxship, Union Urges Action

  •  As report shows Hanjin Shipping Has Enough Cash to Cover Offloading Costs

International maritime union Nautilus has been providing advice and assistance to four British officer trainees who have been stranded onboard one of the container ships caught up in the collapse of the South Korean shipping company Hanjin Shipping.

The four cadets are among an estimated 2,500 seafarers who have been unable to leave their ships while they have remained in international waters to avoid arrest by creditors.

Three of the cadets joined the Liberia-flagged Hanjin Louisiana in May and were due to leave the 40,855gt vessel on 2 September.

Nautilus has been liaising between the cadets, the training providers, the shipping company, Liberian flag state authorities and the UK Maritime & Coastguard Agency to help secure arrangements for the trainees to be taken off the ship.

The union has also worked with Inverness MP Drew Hendry to bring the case to the attention of government ministers.

”These young cadets cannot be expected to be adrift while all this plays out in the courts,” Hendrysaid.

”The time has come for the UK government to say enough is enough — it is vital that every effort is made to protect these students and other affected seafarers from the nations of the UK.”

Nautilus national secretary Jonathan Havard said the union is seeking to ensure the cadets are able to return home as soon as possible.

”They have been placed in an appalling situation through no fault of their own, and we are doing everything we can to get them repatriated so that they can get back to their families and then resume their studies,” Havard said

”The fact that they are all determined to continue their training shows their deep commitment and we are hugely impressed by their mature and sensible response to the events they have been caught up in.”

Meanwhile, cash held by Hanjin Shipping, coupled with commitments from the company’s leading shareholder, the leading creditor, and the parent group’s CEO, should be enough to cover the costs of unloading cargo from the company’s container ships stranded offshore, Reuters reported a South Korean government official as saying.

The vessels have been stranded ever since the South Korean biggest container carrier filed for bankruptcy protection in late August.

Korea Development Bank, the company’s largest creditor, will provide KRW 50 billion (USD 45.2 million) in cash to help Hanjin offload cargo from the stranded ships. Korean Air Lines Co., Hanjin’s largest shareholder, decided to provide KRW 60 billion to the company, and Hanjin Group’s chairman Cho Yang-ho reportedly offered 40 billion won in personal assets to help the carrier complete the offloading.

Following the announcement of the start of the bankruptcy proceedings, 97 of Hanjin’s container ships, carrying cargo worth around USD 14 billion, were left stranded across the globe and unable to load or offload containers in fear of either the vessels or the cargo being seized by creditors or port operators.

Out of the 97 container ships stranded, 35 have unloaded their cargo as of September 22. The majority of the remaining 62 ships is expected to complete the unloading by the end of October.

The courts in Germany, the UK, Japan, and reportedly Singapore have allowed Hanjin Shipping to unload vessels at the ports in these countries.

The government of South Korea plans to unveil a set of new measures in October which are expected to provide other carriers with measures to avoid the Hanjin scenario.

World Maritime News