Zeamarine is allegedly working to get out of several of its time-charter arrangements, and the German special cargo operator could also be on track to find a solution for the ships it has leased.
ShippingWatch has spoken to a series of brokers who confirm that several owners of the ships in Zeamarine's fleet are currently in the market looking for alternatives to the contracts with the German company.
According to the same sources, the world's biggest heavy-lift operator, BBC Chartering, has already signed contracts for six of the ships that were sailing for Zeamarine just a few weeks ago.
This concerns two so-called F500 ships and four E/F vessels, all of which have a dead weight of around 12,500 tons.
For the first two ships, BBC Chartering has signed a contract to have them on time-charter for the rest of the year, while for the latter four it has signed contracts with options for up to 24 months.
Other sources in the market say that they are getting inquiries daily from shipowners looking to move their ships away from Zeamarine.
Zeamarine declines to comment on the information, adding that it does not "speculate about rumors," a spokesperson tells ShippingWatch.
Since one of the top executives, CCO Dominik Stehle, left Zeamarine in mid-December, there has been intense anticipation in specialized cargo circles and among customers, all of which are waiting for news about Zeamarine's future.
A few days later, it emerged that all directors would have their areas of responsibility removed and would instead answer to a restructuring expert. According to ShippingWatch's sources, this lead to a lot of anxiety among customers in terms of the long-term plans for Zeamarine.
Specifically, the restructuring expert is Sven Lundehn of Bremen-based firm Alldatax, who now currently works for the German company. He was also involved in handling the collapse of Beluga Shipping, a company that, like Zeamarine, was also based in Bremen.
Lundehn has been working since December to set a new strategy for the distressed shipping company, which has been hit by years of weak rates in core markets in multi-purpose and heavy lift.
It is unknown how much of the strategy the cancellation of charter contracts with owners accounts for.
As such, there is speculation in the market about how big a part of its chartered fleet Zeamarine could end up disposing of, and especially what the prospects look like for its leased ships. The company currently has a fleet of around 70 ships.
Ahead of Christmas, Zeamarine downplayed the situation following weeks of rumors about financial woes. In an update to its customers, the company said it continues to have its owner's support, and that the business will continue.
"Zeamarine remains an active organization performing all of its contractual commitments with our usual market-leading customer service," wrote the shipping company.
According to ShippingWatch's sources, Zeamarine will provide further details about future structure next week.
English Edit: Daniel Logan Berg-Munch