Ship operator Toisa files for bankruptcy – Metro US

Ship operator Toisa files for bankruptcy

By Tom Hals

WILMINGTON, Del. (Reuters) – Shipping company Toisa Ltd filed for U.S. Chapter 11 bankruptcy as falling demand for the Bermuda-chartered company’s oil-and-gas supply vessels left it running short of cash, according to court documents.

Toisa, owned by Greek shipping magnate Gregory Callimanopulos, has a global fleet of 26 offshore oil service vessels, 13 tankers and seven bulk ships, according to documents filed with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan.

The ship operator said it had more than $1 billion in debt in court documents.

Oil prices have fallen by about half since 2014, and offshore energy producers have responded by cutting back on capital spending which has undermined demand for supply vessels.

Toisa said it has been in talks with lenders this month in London, but sought bankruptcy after several lenders took action on their loans, including seeking to seize the company’s ships, according to court documents.

The energy downturn has hit many offshore oil service firms, including Houston-based Hercules Offshore Inc which in June said it planned to liquidate its drilling business.

Tidewater Inc , a New Orleans-based operator of supply vessels, has been in negotiations for several months with its lenders to amend it debt agreements.

(Reporting by Tom Hals in Wilmington, Delaware; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)