OBO hits auction block

Embattled Ukrainian operator Vista Shipping is preparing to part ways with a combination carrier (OBO) that landed at the centre of a legal battle in the US.

Compass Maritime Services is overseeing the auction of the 169,400-dwt Cape Viewer (built 1992), which hit the auction block Monday morning.

The vessel, which is at anchorage in Norfolk, Virginia, will be sold as is, where is, free and clear of all liens, claims and encumbrances with one exception.

Compass says the buyer must forge a new fixture with Noble Chartering, which owns the cargo that was on board the ship when it was seized last year.

The court that ordered the auction of the Cape Viewer set the minimum bid at $8.3m, which is $3m lower than what VesselsValue.com believes its worth in today’s market.

The valuation portal’s assessment is based on a variety of variables, like the price tag tied  to similar vessels that have changed hands in recent months and years.

The site, which is backed by a UK sale-and-purchase broker, notes that an affiliate of Vista Shipping acquired the Cape Viewer from Frontline for $9.1m in late 2013.

By comparison a newer, larger OBO called the 319,00-dwt D Whale (built 2011) commanded $60m when it was sold at auction three months ago.

The arrest of the Cape Viewer in November 2013 marked the start of a lengthy legal battle with Glory Wealth Management of Singapore and Swiss coal trader Flame.

The duo argued that Vista is an alter ego of Viktor Baranskiy’s Industrial Carriers Inc (ICI) and should be held liable for the collapsed Ukrainian operator’s debts. As we reported Flame is seeking $21m and Glory Wealth claims it is owed $46m.