Sun, Oct 14, 2012 - Page 14 News List

Ship graveyard filling up as industry slowly withers

The owner of a mothball yard in the Netherlands is seeing business boom as more vessels too expensive to run, or from defunct businesses, crowd into his port

By Jan Hennop  /  AFP, DORDRECHT, The Netherlands

So far, 12 foreign-flagged sea-going ships have been sold this way since the start of the year, Van Lynden said, but sales of ships are drying up.

Such is the glut of unused vessels that banks no longer consider it worth their while to sell ships to recover money from bankrupt companies.

“Many banks now put shipping companies in what we refer to as their ‘intensive care units’ where they keep the companies afloat rather that foreclosing on them,” as it is more cost-effective, Van Lynden said.

Back at Dordrecht’s Dutch Harbor, Heuvelman waved his arm in a wide arc at the abandoned, rain-swept vessels.

“None of these ships have a happy tale to tell,” he said.

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