4 handy bulkers stranded after SOBELMAR bankruptcy, who’s behind Belgium company?
Four handysize bulk carriers were put recently under Bernhard Schulte Ship management, after their owner, company SOBELMAR ANTWERP NV, Belgium, filed for bankruptcy in March 2015.
The US Bankruptcy Court approved the sale of certain assets of Sobelmar Antwerp N.V. on July 10, 2015 - Bloomberg.
Mar 12, 2016 - HSH Nordbank has been granted “physical control” over the four-bulker fleet of Belgium's Sobelmar - TradeWinds.
Three of them, BRASSCHAAT, VYRITSA and ZARECHENSK, are stranded in Tynemouth, UK, for some 6-8 weeks, anchored on Tynemouth anchorage. Vessels’ long stay in front of city’s seaside arose locals apprehensions, but they’ve been reassured by Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA). Bernhard Schulte Ship Management (UK) Ltd, which has Newcastle office, has confirmed it has been hired to manage the vessels and that its own staff replaced the original crews in a supervised hand-over.
Bulk carrier KOVDOR (IMO 9459383) is stranded in Malta, also since June, according to AIS, and also was put under Bernhard Schulte management.
SOBELMAR ANTWERP NV was established in 1995 (www.sobelmar.net) as most probably, joint Russian-Belgium enterprise, and is or was driven by Russian interests and staff (Three vessels in question are under Russian names: KOVDOR, VYRITSA, ZARECHENSK; Linkedin: Anatoly PONOMAREV OPS Manager at Sobelmar Antwerp NV Brasschaat, Flanders, Belgium). A number of collateral evidences point at Victor Olerskiy, present head of ROSMORRECHFLOT, Russian Merchant Sea and River Transport Authority, as being related to SOBELMAR, at least in 90’s.
Mr. Olerskiy, at one time, had a Belgium citizenship, having a rather big shipping business there, but renounced it after being nominated a Deputy Minister of Transport, Russia (driven as he said, by patriotic motivations). At least, that’s what he said at the time. Mr. Olerskiy has a rather dubious reputation, both in shipping, and in general. Some media investigations connected him to very strange persons (including convicted criminals, bosses of organized crime) and businesses, including arms transportation to Middle East. He’s said to be a protégé of well-known persons Sechin and Timchenko, best friends of Mr. Putin.
Not one but several companies, managed by Mr. Olerskiy or directly related to him, found themselves in troubled waters, it seems to be Mr. Olerskiy’s brand.
On a photo two bulkers, BRASSCHAAT and VYRITSA, attracting Tynemouth residents attention, more photos at chroniclelive.co.uk.
August 14, 2016