January 14, 2009
U.S. Shipping Partners JV takes delivery of NASSCO tanker
U.S. Shipping Partners L.P. (PINKSHEETS: USSPZ) announced today that its joint venture for the construction of five U.S. flag product/chemical tankers took delivery of the product tanker Golden State.
The joint venture is owned by U.S. Shipping Partners and third parties led by affiliates of The Blackstone Group.
The Golden State is the first of a class of five 49,000 DWT product carriers being built for the joint venture by General Dynamics' NASSCO division. At a length of 600 feet, the ship has a cargo capacity of approximately 331,000 barrels.
U.S. Shipping Partners, which will manage the operation of the Golden State on behalf of the joint venture, said that the Golden State will begin operations on a long term charter with BP later this week.
The partnership also announced that as part of its overall strategy to modernize its fleet and replace its older ships it had completed the sale of the ITB Groton at the end of 2008. The partnership has now taken delivery of three new ATBs and one new product tanker and is scheduled to take delivery of another ATB and two additional product tankers this year.
U.S. Shipping Partners L.P. is currently operating under a "forebearance" agreement with its lenders, following its failure to pay the principal or interest payment due on December 31, 2008 under its senior credit agreement. That agreement sets a February 10 deadline for the partnership to either sell itself or find some other way out of its fiscal woes.