A vessel owning unit of Louisiana shipowner and shipbuilder Edison Chouest Offshore (ECO) is reportedly considering a pre-packaged bankruptcy filing in a bid to restructure its balance sheet.

If the effort moves forward, it would see the company’s Nautical Solutions unit file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, unnamed sources told the news service of financial intelligence provider Reorg.

ECO chief financial officer Charlie Comeaux declined to comment on the report, and a communications executive for the company could not be immediately reached.

Reorg reported that Nautical Solutions’ $600m of debt matured at the end of last year.

A source told the intelligence firm that the unit may need to turn to an in-court process because it does not have the unanimous consent of lenders and bondholders, though Reorg reported that the deeply-private ECO would prefer an agreement outside of the public forum of a US Bankruptcy Court.

But a pre-packaged bankruptcy implies that an agreement can be struck with at least some of the company’s secured lenders before a court filing.

There are few public details about how Nautical Solutions fits into the business at Chouest family-controlled ECO, which is by some measures the world’s largest owner of offshore support vessels.

But shipping database Equasis says Nautical Solutions is the registered owner of 35 of ECO’s US-flag vessels, making it a major player in the market protected by the US Jones Act cabotage law.

Led by chief executive Gary Chouest, ECO controls a fleet of 276 vessels, according to Clarksons. The company is the largest offshore vessel owner and 13th largest shipowner by vessel count, according to the shipbroker’s Shipping Intelligence Network database.

VesselsValue, which lists 223 ships and newbuildings in the ECO fleet, says those vessels are worth more than $1.77bn, including two under construction.

The outfit also owns a portfolio of shipyards in the US and Brazil.

Reorg reported that ECO has hired Ankura Consulting Group as its financial advisor, as well as Kirkland & Ellis as legal advisor and Jefferies as investment banker.

A group of lenders has tapped law firm White & Case and investment bank AMA Capital, Reorg reported.