No no Nobu

Shipowner Nobu Su's dream of reorganising his Today Makes Tomorrow (TMT) died in a Texas courtroom this afternoon, as a bankruptcy judge found his plans to be unrealistic based on available funds and time.

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US bankruptcy judge Marvin Isgur was not sold on Su's 11th-hour plan to put some vessels in cold layup ahead of conversions into floating production storage and offloading (FPSO) units or floating liquified natural gas (FLNG) units.

Isgur's ruling means Su will voluntarily step down as an officer of the companies owning the 16 vessels in the Chapter 11 filing while the court presides over a piecemeal liquidation of the fleet to repay creditors.

Among the vessels still to face the sales block are the 320,000-dwt combination carriers D Whale, E Whale, G Whale and H Whale, and the three handysize bulkers A Handy, B Handy and C Handy.

It was not immediately clear whether this would come through conversion of the case to Chapter 7 (liquidation) or through appointment of a trustee or "responsible party" to oversee sales within Chapter 11.

After listening to Su present his plan for some 90 minutes under questioning from his attorney Edward Rothberg, Isgur said he was more persuaded by the testimony of AMA Capital Partners' Jim Dolphin, an advisor to Su's lenders. 

According to Dolphin, Su seriously underestimated costs of executing his alternative plan, lacked sufficient funds in the TMT estate to get it done, and faced uncertain prospects in ever pulling off FPSO or FLNG projects.

"The concepts introduced by Mr Su are unrealistic at this point," Isgur said from the bench. "They may have been realistic at some point, but not at this point. I largely accept Mr Dolphin's testimony that the spread sheet does not supply sufficient capital.

"The LNG and floating-platform proposals are interesting. But they have been floated in this court for over a year. They remain unfeasible and there is not enough money  to support those options. I find the alternative course as presented is not feasible."

TMT buckled under debt on high-cost vessels through declining freight markets, and was granted Chapter 11 protection in Houston last summer.