(Adds detail on Korean Air board meeting, returned vessels)
By Joyce Lee
SEOUL, Sept 19 All Hanjin Shipping Co Ltd
chartered vessels that have completed unloading
their cargo have been told to cancel their charter agreements
and return the ships to the shipowners, a South Korean judge
said on Monday.
Hanjin, the world's seventh-largest container line, filed
for receivership last month, leaving more than 100 ships and
their cargo at sea and threatening to snarl U.S. freight traffic
as the year-end shopping season approaches.
Dozens of Hanjin's ships have been blocked from docking with
ports and lashing firms fearing they won't be paid. Some vessels
have also been seized and some sold.
The company had a total of 141 vessels, including 97
container ships as of early September. Out of the 97 container
ships, 60 were chartered and 37 owned by Hanjin.
The company returned three bulk carriers earlier this month,
a Hanjin Shipping spokeswoman said on Monday.
In addition, four container ships have been returned to the
shipowners as of Sunday, while Hanjin has received shipowners'
notifications to return 13 more container ships, another Hanjin
Current delays in unloading cargo are incurring more than $2
million in charter fees daily, the judge in charge of liasing
with media at Seoul Central District Court also told Reuters in
a text message.
Last week, Hanjin secured $45 million from its chairman and
a former chairwoman to help unload an estimated $14 billion in
cargo trapped on its ships but needs more money to pay port and
Korean Air Lines Co Ltd, the top shareholder of
Hanjin Shipping, has been considering lending the shipper 60
billion won ($53.70 million) but the plan has run into
Korean Air's board of directors met on Sunday to discuss the
deal, including alternatives to Hanjin Shipping's Long Beach
Terminal stake being provided as collateral, but did not reach a
conclusion, a Korean Air spokesman said on Monday.
Banks led by state-run Korea Development Bank (KDB) withdrew
backing for Hanjin late last month, saying a funding plan by its
parent group was inadequate to tackle debt that stood at 6.1
trillion won as of end-June.
South Korea has said no government or central bank money
would be directly injected into the firms restructuring in the
ailing shipping and shipbuilding industries, though it is
helping small-to-medium sized businesses hit by the
($1 = 1,117.4000 won)
(Editing by Lincoln Feast)