Vinashinlines, the direct owner of the Hoa Sen (lotus) ship, formerly owned by the beleaguered state-run Vinashin, has recently called on the Ministry of Transport to allow it to put the loss-making ship on sale, as part of its restructuring plan.
Selling the ship helps Vinashinlines, a subsidiary of the Vietnam National Shipping Lines (Vinalines), avoid unnecessary expenses as the ship has long been docked dormant, earning nothing.
The titan $67-million ship is now still doing nothing at a port in China, failing to attract any lessee, while consuming a huge sum from Vinashinlines’ budget in maintenance and docking costs, its owner lamented.
Worse, the owner still owes wages to dozens of the ship’s crew members, though their contracts have expired.
Purchased from Italy in 2007 by troubled state-owned shipbuilder Vinashin, Hoa Sen ship soon had to go under maintenance in December 2008 after just 40 trips between northern Quang Ninh Province and southern Ho Chi Minh City due to cracks found at the bottom.
The ship’s ownership was then transferred to Vinalines, as part of a government-ordered restructure process at Vinashin, following Vinashin’s failure in clearing a massive debt of VND86.6 trillion ($4.33 billion).
From April 2009, the ship was docked at Cam Ranh Bay in Vietnam’s Khanh Hoa Province until February 2011, when it left for China, and ended up being detained in Korea over a debt dispute in May 2011.
Vinalines had negotiated to get the ship back, but at “an unannounced cost,” a Vinalines’ top official told Tuoi Tre last year.
The titanic ship has since been docked unused in China.