GC Rieber takes ship back early to help Dolphin Geophysical

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Norwegian shipping heavyweight GC Rieber has agreed to take early redelivery of the survey vessel Polar Duke from Dolphin Geophysical as part of an overall restructuring agreement to improve Dolphin’s competitiveness in a challenging market.

The deal will reduce $16million of hire payments for GC Rieber. Together with Dolphin’s improved terms of bank loans and reduced charter rates on Dolphin’s vessels from fellow Norwegian shipping firm Sanco, the deal will significantly improve Dolphin’s costbase.

GC Rieber will grant Bergen-headquartered Dolphin a rolling credit facility of $5million, consisting of payments due to it. The credit facility is effective for nine months.

As part of the same agreement, the firm periods of the Polar Duchess and the Polar Marquis charters have been extended by 18 months.

Seismic survey specialist Dolphin kicked off its first major project in Mexico in July using the Artemis Arctic survey ship.

GC Rieber chief executive Irene Waage Basili said: “We are satisfied we’ve been able to reach an agreement together with other major stakeholders that supports Dolphin Geophysical in improving their competitiveness in the challenging market ahead.”

Last month GC Rieber said it had terminated a five-year charter agreement with Ceona for the subsea vessel Polar Onyx. The announcement pre-empted the news that Ceona was about to enter administration, which led to the loss of 102 jobs in Aberdeen, London and Houston.

GC Rieber Shipping, which is also based in Bergen, currently operates 13 advanced special purpose vessels for defined markets within the subsea, ice/support and marine seismic segments, of which the company owns 11.

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