Canadian shipowner Seaspan Corporation has suspended a deal it signed earlier this year to build four “ultra-modern” 7,700 TEU boxships with dual-fuel LNG propulsion.
The agreement, announced in May, would have seen the four ships deliver in late 2024 for long-term charter to a global container liner. The agreement included a purchase obligation at the end of the charter and would have contributed about $1 billion to Seaspan’s contracted cashflow.
However, the deal appears to have fallen through. Seaspan claimed Thursday that the contracts for the vessel orders were “not being fulfilled by the counterparty,” and declared that they “have become null and void.” In a preview of potential legal action, it said that it has “reserved its rights to claim against the counterparty” in connection with the dispute.
The names of the liner and shipbuilder counterparties involved in the deal were not disclosed, but industry media have indicated that the builder may have been K Shipbuilding, the rebranded Korean yard once know as STX Offshore. The value of the orders is reported to exceed $500 million.
Seaspan is a Vancouver-headquartered container ship owner and operator specializing in long-term chartering to blue chip liner companies. It relies on fixed-rate, staggered charters to reliable carriers to smooth over the bumps in the shipping industry’s business cycle. The firm crews and operates its 120-plus owned vessels.