Insufficient liquidity has led Norwegian ballast water treatment system manufacturer OceanSaver to file for bankruptcy. The company’s board of directors filed a petition to dissolve the company on September 13.
Established in 2003, OceanSaver was among the first suppliers to be approved by IMO in 2008 and obtained USCG type approval
in December 2016.
However, OceanSaver said it faced “significant downward pressure on equipment prices,” brought on by continued low shipbuilding activity as well as IMO’s MEPC 71 July decision to push back deadlines for ship owners to retrofit ballast water treatment systems.
Also in July, the company lost a four-year arbitration
against filter maker Bollfilter, which forced the company to pay all arbitration costs and both parties’ legal fees.
OceanSaver’s CEO Helle Hundseid resigned
in June, replaced by Kjetil Bruun-Olsen who stepped in as chairman and acting CEO.
OceanSaver said it had been working to turn itself around in recent months, though attempts to find investors or a buyer were unsuccessful.
“We have completed several cost-cutting measures and lay-offs, while investigating various scenarios for a continued operation of the company. Despite our best efforts, the company continues to require additional funding, but we are unable to attract the capital needed to maintain the operations of the company. Unfortunately we have no choice but to file a petition for bankruptcy,” said Bruun-Olsen said.
In total, approximately 70 employees in Norway, South Korea and China will be affected, OceanSaver said in a statement.
“This is particularly difficult for the employees who will lose their jobs, but also subcontractors, customers and partners will be impacted,” Bruun-Olsen said.
“OceanSaver's employees have been working hard to keep the company afloat, and I regret that it has not been possible to find a solution for a continued operation. Going forward, I will spend my time looking after the employees in OceanSaver and help them get the support they need in a challenging time.”
One of the company’s founders Aage Bjørn Andersen, chief executive at Mentum Maritime
Innovations, commented on the developments via LinkedIn.
“As one of its two founders, it makes me sad and extremely disappointed to have to see OceanSaver’s dissolution as their request for bankruptcy was delivered today.
“We established OceanSaver as early as 2003 and achieved, as the first electrochemical BWMS technology ever - IMO type approval in 2008. Following a harsh take-over in 2011, the original owners and founders were unfairly squeezed out of the company. As the brainchild behind the technology, my company, Mentum, was later in 2012 contracted to further develop and manage OceanSaver’s product and their compliance and approval strategies. On September 23, 2016, we submitted OceanSaver’s USCG Type Approval application. This was, as we all know, successfully granted in late December 2016, another first for us - this was the first electrochlorination BWMS to achieve USCG approval.
“Internal mismanagement and incompetence combined with a reckless IMO-process eliminating huge markets for many years, have taken its first victim.”