Navigating rough waters

Two Hanjin ships call at Singapore

The Hanjin Jebel Ali berthed at Tanjong Pagar Terminal. It left yesterday. Across the world, a number of Hanjin ships have been turned away from some ports, while others have refused to dock on fears of being seized by creditors.
The Hanjin Jebel Ali berthed at Tanjong Pagar Terminal. It left yesterday. Across the world, a number of Hanjin ships have been turned away from some ports, while others have refused to dock on fears of being seized by creditors.PHOTO: PSA

Two vessels operated by beleaguered shipping giant Hanjin Shipping have called at Singapore's Tanjong Pagar Terminal.

According to a PSA Corporation circular issued on Wednesday, the Hanjin Jebel Ali berthed at the terminal at 3.35pm that day.

It left unberthed at around 3.30am yesterday.

The other vessel, the Hanjin Argentina, berthed at the terminal at 3pm yesterday and is expected to leave at 5pm today.

The circular, seen by The Straits Times yesterday, did not offer further details, except to say "more updates will be available when other vessels operated by Hanjin Shipping are ready to come alongside".

But it likely means that cargo has been unloaded from both ships.

UNANSWERED QUESTIONS

There are also unresolved issues as to whether there is a plan for the Hanjin vessels to return to sea. PSA is not going to allow Hanjin ships to be berthed at the Singapore docks indefinitely.

CLYDE & CO'S MARITIME LEGAL TEAM

Port operator PSA had said in an earlier circular that companies with cargo shipped by Hanjin have to fork out a refundable deposit of $5,000 for every container they take delivery of. The move, which applies only to containers sitting in PSA's yard, is aimed at facilitating cargo flow and minimising disruption to the supply chain, PSA said.

South Korea's Hanjin, the seventh-largest carrier globally, filed for receivership last month, leaving more than 100 ships carrying about US$14 billion (S$19 billion) worth of cargo out at sea in various parts of the world. A number of Hanjin ships have been turned away from some ports, while others have refused to dock on fears of being seized by creditors.

In Singapore, however, the High Court has temporarily frozen all Singapore proceedings against Hanjin and its Singapore subsidiaries, pending a full hearing for all parties here on whether the freeze should continue until next January. This means ships owned or chartered by Hanjin can dock here without being seized by creditors.

Still, Clyde & Co's maritime legal team noted that in order to be allowed to dock, the ship's operators will have to pay an upfront deposit to the port operator and there is still "no clarity on how that money is going to be raised and paid".

"There are also unresolved issues as to whether there is a plan for the Hanjin vessels to return to sea. PSA is not going to allow Hanjin ships to be berthed at the Singapore docks indefinitely," said the team.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 23, 2016, with the headline 'Two Hanjin ships call at Singapore'. Print Edition | Subscribe