Denmark’s World Marine Offshore (WMO) is the subject of bankruptcy proceedings after running into financial and legal problems.
A case will now begin at a court in Esbjerg after a petition was received on 6 January, the State Gazette reported.
The trustee of the bankruptcy estate, John Sommer Schmidt from law firm Gorrissen Federspiel, will try to find a new owner for the business, which owns 10 modern crew transfer vessels (CTVs), according to the Finans daily.
Schmidt said the bankruptcy is due to several years of losses, major changes in management and a disagreement among the owners about a lawsuit filed against the company in the US over an aborted wind farm vessel partnership.
WMO’s operations continue as normal to help find a buyer and save more than 90 jobs.
WMO was established in 2012. In 2020, it joined forces with Patriot Offshore in the US with a view to establishing a shipping company that could bid on offshore wind projects there.
The new venture won a tender for work in connection with the construction of an offshore wind farm at Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts.
Two CTVs were to have been built in the US under the agreement, but this never happened.
TradeWinds reported last year that Patriot and an early investor are now demanding compensation of $18.2m.
They claimed that WMO left the joint venture, allegedly to pursue business with rival Foss Maritime.
As a result, General Electric cancelled its contract for the CTVs.
The lawsuit alleged WMO misrepresented the power that former chief executive Lars Christian Zohner had to create the joint venture, and used that excuse to avoid extending investment before dropping out entirely.
The US court filing described WMO’s attempts to recapitalise in 2021 as Patriot Offshore worked to secure charters and newbuilding slots for the CTVs.
WMO engaged with Foss, another US-based company making a push into offshore wind, and offshore shipowner Tidewater for investment.
Patriot Offshore would eventually secure a charter with General Electric in November 2021 to build two CTVs, but shortly thereafter Zohner left WMO and was replaced by Hans Schneider.
WMO has not commented on the case.
The fleet was expanded in 2020 through a takeover of Danish wind farm vessel owner KEM Offshore. WMO said it had acquired all vessels and activities from what it called a pioneering firm within offshore wind. No price was revealed for the deal.
In January 2020, WMO had taken over the commercial management of the fleet of Danish offshore vessel owner A1 Partners, which was renamed Wilson Offshore.
In 2021, WMO set up a Taiwanese joint venture with U-Ming and ordered two CTVs in Thailand for the Asian market, following this up last year with a deal for two more ships in Norway for a charter with Orsted.