The latest detentions of shipping bankers from China’s massive leasing sector has sent a nervous ripple through the global maritime sector. An increasing number of foreign shipowners have been using Chinese leasing companies for finance in place of a still-depleted Western funding base — wounded by the post-2008 slump.

The wave of official investigations has unnerved what has been a booming business area and there are plenty of questions about what is behind the crackdown and what it will mean.