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Sanko Seeks to Defer Ship-Hire Payments, Golden Ocean Says

Golden Ocean Group Ltd. and Knightsbridge Tankers Ltd., which operate ships that carry dry-bulk commodities, said Sanko Steamship Co. asked to defer hire payments for two Capesize vessels.

The Golden Feng is chartered to Sanko at $46,000 a day until Jan. 10, 2014, Oslo-based Golden Ocean said today in a statement. Knightsbridge has an accord with Sanko covering the Battersea at a rate of $39,500 daily until at least June 26, 2014, a separate statement showed.

Sanko, which operates about 200 ships, said today it asked creditors to defer payments after freight rates slumped amid a global oversupply of vessels and rising fuel prices. The Tokyo-based company has asked shipowners, shipyards and lenders for a so-called standstill agreement and intends to eventually pay all debts, a March 9 statement showed.

Sanko also charters vessels from the Navios group of companies, filings show. The Japanese company accounted for 6.9 percent of revenue at Navios Maritime Holdings Inc., according to a presentation from Feb. 23, 2010. Navios Maritime Partners LP said Sanko accounted for 3.5 percent of revenues for the period ending Dec. 31.

Navios declined to comment, Laura Kowalcyk, vice president for corporate communications, said by phone from New York. Sanko owns 41 of the ships it operates, according to figures compiled by Bloomberg.

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