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Services — Ship Repossessions

Vessels which must be repossessed create a host of problems for mortgagees, most stemming from the shipowner's ongoing neglect of the vessel and its crew.  In a typical situation:
  • unpaid crew cease regular maintenance or even deliberately steal equipment;
  • unsatisfied creditors hunt for the ship, hoping to arrest her wherever she is found;
  • essential drydockings or repairs are postponed, compromising ship safety; and
  • certifications are often voided, along with the ship's insurance coverage.

Although a shipowner who is on the verge of insolvency will try to keep the ship operating and claimants at bay for as long possible, the vessel's arrest by creditors is usually unavoidable.  When one creditor takes action, others typically follow.  Unless the mortgagee quickly lifts the arrest, its collateral will be trapped in what is often a hostile legal environment—a jurisdiction which is inefficient, enforces pro-creditor lien ranking rules or is corrupt.  In such situations, the ship's creditors, not the mortgagee, decide when and where to sell the ship, often to the mortgagee's detriment.

The VessEx Solution

VessEx can overcome these mortgage enforcement obstacles by performing a ship extraction operation before the vessel gets trapped in an unfavorable jurisdiction.  Although VessEx tailors its services for the unique needs of each situation, VessEx has the technical expertise to put a ship's affairs in order, the skill to resolve disputes and the operational capabilities to sail the ship to a more desirable location—where it can be arrested and sold by the mortgagee on its terms, not those of other creditors.  The end result is a net recovery often substantially higher than what the mortgagee would otherwise achieve.

How VessEx Does It

Although the methods used to repossess a vessel are tailored to each situation, each operation starts with the preparation of a carefully considered plan and the assembly of a crew which is appropriate for the circumstances—ranging from a single superintendent to a full sailing crew.  Once the crew arrives at the vessel's location, it will board and obtain control over the ship.  Once it is in control of ship, VessEx can perform all or some of the following services:

  • Crew Management: VessEx can handle all matters relating to the owner's crew, including settlement of outstanding wage claims and the retention or repatriation of crewmembers.
  • Claim Management: VessEx will gather evidence needed for our client's legal counsel to negotiate the settlement of or the arranging of security for pending arrests.
  • Ship Management: VessEx can provide full shipmanagement services, including technical management, commercial management,  for repossessed ships.  Because VessEx has full technical and shipmanagement capabilities, VessEx can prepare the ship for a repositioning voyage and sail the ship to an alternate port.
  • Lay-Up Management: After arrival of the destination port, VessEx will install a lay-up crew, prepare the ship for lay-up and manage the ship during the lay-up period.
  • Re-Marketing and Liquidation. VessEx will coordinate matters incidental to the vessel's re-marketing and sale.

Proven Ship Recovery Experience

Click here to view an excerpt from Seized by VessEx Operations Director Capt. Max Hardberger for an account of his efforts to recover a ship in Haiti.

Towing a ship recovered by VessEx

Book cover of Seized

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