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Tsuji shipbuilding subsidiary claims to be working normally

WHEN Japan’s Tsuji Heavy Industries filed for bankruptcy protection last December it was presumed that its shipbuilding subsidiary in China would go to the wall. But Tsuji (Jiangsu) said last week that it was now running as an independent entity with financial support from the Bank of China, despite a lack of equipment and machinery from its parent company. The bank also holds a number of builders’ guarantees on behalf of the yard. A source at the yard in Zhangjiang told the Japanese press: “With the financial support given by the Chinese bank(s), we have built a system in which our Chinese unit can independently operate even without the headquarters. So long as there are contracts, it will continue to operate in the future.” But the same report claimed that Tsuji has contracts for 34 bulk carriers of 30,000 dwt and 37,000 dwt ordered by Denmark’s Clipper Group and Turkey’s Yasa Shipping. According to Clarkson’s database, Yasa Shipping has orders for eight 30,000 dwt bulk carriers, the first of which is due for delivery in early 2010. Meanwhile, a source close to the Clipper contracts said that only two of the 30 ships it had ordered with the Chinese yard had been delivered. The first vessel was delivered six months late in November 2008. The second was handed over this month after a seven-month delay. Tsuji’s second yard in Zhoushan, which was to build Clipper’s 37-type vessels, was more closely controlled by the Japanese parent. As a result Clipper has cancelled 18 ships of 37,000 dwt on order leaving just 10 of 30,000 dwt outstanding from the original 30 ships. Another source close to the Clipper deal said that Tsuji was seeking arbitration over the cancellations but added that there was virtually no chance that its action would succeed given Tsuji’s poor performance. “The move is nothing more than a delaying tactic,” he said. Yasa Shipping declined to comment on the current status of its orders with Tsuji (Jiangsu).

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