The liquidation of the Xihe Holdings fleet is moving ahead, with the arrest of three of its smaller product tankers in Singapore and the sale of another of its dwindling stock of VLCCs.
Bank of America’s Singapore branch has arrested the 12,000-dwt Ocean Goby and Ocean Manta (both built 2017), as well as the sistership Ocean Jack (built 2018).
Although the company's vessels are protected from such seizures in Singapore under a court-supervised liquidation process, its judicial managers have previously given permission for creditors — primarily mortgage holders — to arrest vessels in order to have them sold via judicial auction.
While much of the focus of the Xihe fleet sell-off has been on its larger tankers, its small clean tankers have also been selling fast, attracting the most interest from buyers in Singapore and elsewhere in Asia.
VesselsValue pegs a market price of just over $12m per ship.
Tanker brokers in Singapore suggested they will be auctioned by the end of the year, as it usually takes three months from the arrest date for creditors to secure an auction date under the judicial process.
Brokers have also reported the sale of another Xihe VLCC.
The 318,400-dwt Chang Bai San (built 2012) was said to have been sold this week for $41.5m, with some broking reports indicating the buyer was Greek.
The crude carrier, which was in the Atlantic heading for Gibraltar on Friday, is estimated by VesselsValue to have a market value of $46.7m. Maritime Strategies International puts its fair market value in this quarter at $51.4m.
The sale leaves only three VLCCs in the Xihe fleet, two of which are relatively modern ships built in 2010 and 2012, while the third is a 2001-built tanker last used in a storage role.
Legal dragnet expands
While the dispersal of the Xihe fleet powers on, the legal woes of founder Lim Oon Kuin and his family grow.
OK Lim, as the company patriarch is more commonly known, has borne the brunt of the charges surrounding the collapse of the family business, which includes oil trader Hin Leong Trading and tanker operator Ocean Tankers.
Lim is facing 130 charges — 68 of cheating, 47 of abetment of forgery, 14 of abetment for forgery for the purpose of cheating and one of abetment of forgery of a valuable security.
In early August, the legal dragnet spread to his daughter Lim Huey Ching, who was charged with obstructing the course of justice after being accused of instructing a Hin Leong IT manager to "permanently dispose" of previous backups of information on the company's computer servers.
Lim's instruction to delete the data was alleged to have occurred in April 2020. According to the Singapore Police, that was at a time when Hin Leong was facing probable civil or criminal proceedings.
If found guilty, she could be jailed for up to seven years, fined, or both.