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Superferry urged not to abandon 2 vessels


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POSTED: Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Hawaii Superferry's committee of unsecured creditors and the state Department of Transportation said the company's attempt to abandon its two ferries is “;premature”; because it is early in the case and the vessels are “;presumably the debtor's most valuable assets.”;

In filings yesterday with federal Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Del., the committee said that even though the Superferry ceased operations in Hawaii on March 16, it is likely the vessels could be sold or chartered, either domestically or abroad, and provide the Superferry estate additional funds in which it can maximize recoveries for creditors.

The state DOT filed a joinder that adopts the committee's position.

The Superferry filed a motion on June 11 to abandon the ships and release its financial interest in the ferries because, it said, it did not have sufficient liquidity to maintain the vessels. The company said it is incurring significant costs for insurance, maintenance, security and storage.

A hearing to abandon the ships, as well as the state DOT motion to transfer the venue to Honolulu, is scheduled for July 1.

The creditors said the Superferry's abandonment motion is particularly troubling because it was filed less than a week after the company filed a motion seeking to initiate the transfer of $7.5 million held in escrow to Guggenheim Corporate Funding LLC, one of the Superferry's creditors. The committee is objecting to the release of those funds because it says Guggenheim has no security interest in the $7.5 million and the escrow conditions governing the release of that money have not been and can never be satisfied.

The Superferry filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on May 30.