Bankrupt Hanjin seeks court protection for its ships

Hanjin ship Image copyright AFP
Image caption Several Hanjin ships have already been seized

Troubled shipping giant Hanjin plans to seek court protection to prevent its ships from being seized by creditors.

South Korea's financial regulator said the company wanted to file for bankruptcy protection in more than 40 countries to protect its fleet.

Under bankruptcy protection a firm can reorganise its debts and block assets from being seized.

According to Hanjin, 68 out of its fleet of 141 ships have been stranded since the firm's collapse last week.

Several ships have already been seized in ports.

Hanjin cargo fleet stranded at sea

Hanjin last week filed for receivership in South Korea after attempts to raise fresh funding for the indebted firm failed.

On Friday, the firm had filed for bankruptcy protection in the US, a spokeswoman said on Monday, which would help protect its ships from being seized in US ports where many of the ships from Asia are heading.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Both ships and cargo can be taken as collateral by creditors

The world's seventh-largest container line has been unprofitable for four of the last five years.

The global economic downturn in recent years years severely affected profits across the cargo shipping industry.

Fierce competition and falling prices have lead to a $5.4bn (£4.1bn) debt for Hanjin before its creditors refused to offer a new lifeline.

Hanjin shares plunged 30% when they resumed trading on Monday, but then recovered.

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