OW trustees struggling with subsidiaries

Three out of four claims following the crash of OW Bunker are scattered in subsidiaries around the world. KPMG in Singapore is responsible for securing payment from Tankoil, which is seemingly continuing operations unaffected.
Photo: Kasper Palsnov/Jyllands-Posten
Photo: Kasper Palsnov/Jyllands-Posten

The Danish trustees in OW Bunker, headed by, among others, Pernille Bigaard (picture) of Copenhagen-based law firm Plesner, are highly dependent on the sums in claims procured by numerous colleagues around the world from OW Bunker's network of subsidiaries.

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Around 75 percent of the claims arising in the wake of the Danish bunker group's collapse in early November last year stem from subsidiaries, with only the remaining 25 percent coming directly from the Danish parent company, Pernille Bigaard tells ShippingWatch, adding that it will likely take another month before the Danish trustees have the first real overview of all the claims and counterclaims.

Photo: Carsten Bundgaard, Jyllands-Posten
Photo: Carsten Bundgaard, Jyllands-Posten

When such a sizeable portion of the claims stem from foreign subsidiaries, the Danish bankruptcy estate and trustees are highly dependent on their colleagues in shipping hubs such as Singapore, as local law firms and accountants in these locations are responsible for filing claims on behalf of, for instance, OW's Singapore subsidiary Dynamic Oil Trading (DOT) against Tankoil. The agreements with Tankoil played a key part in sinking DOT, as the latter had provided oversize credits to its trading partner in the Port of Singapore.

Tankoil "apparently not collapsed"

Local players that ShippingWatch has spoken to inform that there are no signs that Tankoil is struggling, not to mention facing bankruptcy or just being close to shutting down its business. Pernille Bigaard has also heard that Tankoil has "apparently not collapsed," but she cannot do anything directly related to the company, as KPMG in Singapore is the acting trustee for DOT there. And only when, and if, DOT gets the money from Tankoil, will the Danish parent company have a chance of getting its hands on some of the money. And only then will OW's creditors perhaps be able to get their share of a potential claim.

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"The only thing we can do is put pressure on the DOT trustees. DOT is bankrupt, so we'll be able to file claims in dividends from that estate," Pernille Bigaard tells ShippingWatch.

ShippingWatch has spoken to several carriers around the world, all of whom are wondering why OW Bunker has not filed claims at this time, as the carriers have received bunker but have yet to pay. These carriers say they have the money ready and are now really just waiting for a bill. But according to Bigaard, this is because the oil was delivered by subsidiaries, as the Danish bunker company, alongside its creditor banks, has filed its claims.

The Danish trustee explains that several arbitration processes are already underway, as numerous parties are making claims on payment for the same oil deliveries from OW Bunker in cases where payments were not registered prior to the company's collapse.

ShippingWatch has tried to contact Tankoil in Singapore and has left phone messages, but the company is not responding.

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