Hanjin Shipping gets U.S. court order, cash to unload ships

Sat Sep 10, 2016 2:47am EDT
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By Tom Hals

(Reuters) - A U.S. judge on Friday signed an order granting Hanjin Shipping Co Ltd 117930.KS provisional protection from creditors in the United States, enabling some vessels to dock and unload at U.S. ports.

South Korea's Hanjin had asked U.S. Bankruptcy Judge John Sherwood to issue an order to prevent creditors from seizing Hanjin ships or property, and to allow cargo owners to make arrangements to retrieve goods stranded in warehouses.

Earlier, the company received authority to spend money needed to dock at U.S. ports and begin unloading four vessels that have been stranded at sea by the company's failure last week, a company lawyer told a U.S. court on Friday.

"We have the money," said Ilana Volkov, an attorney for Hanjin, told a U.S. Bankruptcy Court hearing in Newark, New Jersey on Friday. "We want to call these ports and say, please accept our ships and we want to pay for the services to work the ships.”

Volkov said at least $10 million was authorized by a Korean court to begin servicing the four ships. Hanjin identified 14 U.S.-bound ships in court papers, but Volkov said she did not have information about the other vessels.

One of the four, the Hanjin Greece, was scheduled to dock and unload at the Port of Long Beach early Saturday morning, according to the Marine Exchange of Southern California, a group that tracks cargo ship traffic.

Hanjin said that some ships may not dock at their original destinations, which could become an issue for companies like HP Inc (HPQ.N: Quote), Samsung Electronics (005930.KS: Quote) and Home Shopping Network, who said in court records or in court they had cargo on those ships.

The other three U.S.-bound ships are the Hanjin Boston, Hanjin Jungil and Hanjin Gdynia.   Continued...

A Hanjin Shipping Co ship is seen stranded outside the Port of Long Beach, California, September 8, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson