Canadian Company's Claims against Russian Vessel Detained in Denmark Become Known
OREANDA-NEWS. Canadian company One Ocean Expeditions has filed a lawsuit against the owner of Russian research vessel Akademik Ioffe, which was detained in Denmark, in connection with its bankruptcy proceedings. One Ocean Expeditions previously leased the Akademik Ioffe and believes that the shipowner has not fulfilled its obligations, which led to the company's financial difficulties and eventually bankruptcy.
"The Akademik Ioffe belongs to the RAS Institute of Oceanology. On Thursday it was detained in a Danish port as a provisional measure in a lawsuit brought by One Ocean Expeditions. This company organises tourist expeditions to remote regions of the Earth, including Antarctica, Greenland, Iceland and Spitsbergen.
PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) is representing the bankrupt company in court. Court documents posted on its website show that One Ocean Expeditions' financial difficulties began in August 2018. The company then leased three vessels, including the Akademik Ioffe and the Akademik Sergei Vavilov, which also belong to the RAS Institute of Oceanology.
Terragelida Ship Management, a Cypriot company, was in charge of chartering the Russian vessels and is listed in PwC documents as a subsidiary of the Oceanology Institute. At the same time, the website of the Cypriot company lists the Institute of Oceanology's Expeditionary Research Centre as one of its partners.
On 24 August 2018, the Akademik Ioffe ran aground off the coast of Canada. All passengers were transferred to another One Ocean Expeditions vessel, then sent home. Because of the Russian ship's accident, the expedition company was forced to cancel the next nine cruises, most of whose seats had already been sold out, PwC documents said.
The Canadian company's costs due to the grounding of the Akademik Ioffe amounted to $6.5 million, mostly refunds to participants of cancelled cruises.
In April 2019, Terragelida terminated its contract with One Ocean Expeditions to lease the Akademik Ioffe and the Akademik Sergei Vavilov, documents said. The company sent them to Russia "without prior warning", despite One Ocean Expeditions' "urgent need" to prepare the vessels for planned expeditions.
This led to the cancellation of expeditions on two Russian vessels and additional costs, the company said.
As a result, One Ocean Expeditions' sales collapsed, it was unable to meet much of its financial obligations and in the second half of 2019 was unable to pay the lease of its last remaining vessel. As a result, One Ocean Expeditions has cancelled all scheduled cruises.
The Canadian company is now suing Cyprus-based Terragelida for damages. The company estimates $6.5 mln in costs due to the grounded ship, $12.5 mln in costs due to the ships being recalled to Russia and additional damage to its business.