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Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Lenders to Sell Polarcus' Vessels. All Employees to Be Laid Off

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

February 2, 2021

A Polarcus vessel - Credit: Alf van Beem - Wikimedia/CC0 1.0

A Polarcus vessel - Credit: Alf van Beem - Wikimedia/CC0 1.0

Lenders of the troubled marine seismic contractor Polarcus, which last week took control of the company's vessels after a debt payment default, will sell Polarcus' vessels and all the employees will be let go.

Banks last week tool control of Polarcus' subsidiaries that own seismic vessels, with the subsidiaries in question being Polarcus Asima AS, Polarcus Alima AS, Polarcus Amani AS, Polarcus Adira AS, Polarcus Nadia AS, Polarcus Naila AS - bearing the corresponding vessels' names,   and Polarcus Shipholding AS. The lenders also replaced the directors of each subsidiary with a nominee of their own.

Polarcus, which provides seismic survey services to oil and gas companies, last week said that lenders had "made it clear to the company that their intention is not to jeopardize or destabilize the Polarcus organization," and that that they were "open to entering into a standstill period which will allow continued operations and awarded projects to be undertaken without disruption and discussions are underway in this regard."

This has now changed, and the lenders have withdrawn support for ongoing vessel operation, instructing Polarcus to sail the vessels to safe locations in order to start a sales process. 

According to Reuters, the Dubai-based company's fleet consists of seven seismic vessels, including two chartered to Russia's Sovcomflot, and one in lay-up.

"Polarcus will continue to co-operate with the lenders and the new managers on their instructions to bring current operations safely to an end. The company is also communicating with its clients in relation to upcoming awards for which the vessels are now no longer available and to seek alternative solutions for them," Polarcus said.

"In light of these circumstances and given their impact on the Group’s financial position, notice of termination of employment will shortly be issued to all group employees," Polarcus added.

Further, Polarcus said the lenders remained open to discuss a standstill period in relation to their remaining claims and collateral with the view of finding a solution that would allow the continued operation of Vyacheslav Tikhonov vessel - on a contract with Russia's Sovcomflot - owned by Polarcus' subsidiary Polarcus Selma Limited.

"The lenders do not hold any security in either this vessel or this subsidiary. Polarcus will continue to pursue such a standstill agreement in order to bring stability to the remainder of its business," the company said.

Seismic companies have been negatively affected by the coronavirus pandemic, and last year's oil price downturn, which forced oil companies to cut exploration costs, and governments to delays licensing rounds.

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