Hong Kong company Shagang Shipping has successfully obtained an order (28 March 2014) for the arrest of the HNA Group controlled 1999 built, 163,346 GT crude oil tanker M/V ‘GC Guangzhou’ at the Port of Gwangyang (Yeocheon) in South Korea.
This second arrest of an HNA controlled vessel in two weeks is part of a long-running legal campaign seeking USD$66.4m plus interest from HNA Group, which has failed to honour its guarantee and comply with its contractual obligations surrounding the 2008 hire of the vessel M/V ‘Dong-A-Astrea’.
To enforce various international court orders and arbitration awards, Shagang Shipping has already arrested three ships, including the M/V ‘Bulk Peace’ twice, as well as the cruise ship M/V ‘Henna’ in September and now the M/V ‘GC Guangzhou’ twice; obtained a winding up order against the HNA company Grand China Shipping and on 7 March was granted a subpoena from the Southern District Court of New York requiring seven US and Chinese banks affiliated to HNA to provide details of the group’s financial transactions.
Shagang has been in a legal battle around the world seeking payment of the outstanding charter hire and fees from Grand China Shipping Hong Kong, and its guarantor HNA Group which promised to step in and perform the charter if their subsidiary Grand China Shipping did not.
A Shagang Shipping spokesperson said:
“We will continue to send a clear message to HNA, and specifically its investors and stock holders that we intend to enforce our claims by locating all of HNA’s assets wherever and whenever we can across the globe to obtain further arrests.
We remain baffled as to why HNA Group as guarantor does not simply honour its debts to us. If HNA Group is, as reported, aggressively expanding into other areas and has significant lines of credit then we do not understand why they are delaying paying their debts. Investors need to ask some pertinent questions of the Group.”
“Legal actions such as arresting ships have so far proved the only way of forcing HNA to settle its debts and we will continue to pursue the HNA Group by such means.”