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Shippers make U.S. the port of call for bankruptcy

The shipping industry has faltered as a glut of ships were built before the global recession When Marco Polo Seatrade BV, of the Netherlands, filed for bankruptcy in a U.S. court in July, lenders fought to get the case thrown out. While the company docks in ports around the globe, the lenders argued, its ties to the United States are limited to two small financial accounts.Marco Polo has not been alone in seeking Chapter 11 protection in the United States. Other shipping companies, struggling with an oversupply of vessels and weak demand, also have filed for bankruptcy here, thanks to U.S. legal provisions that help companies avoid liquidation and continue to operate, lawyers and investors say.While struggling companies in other industries may also want to seek Chapter 11 refuge despite having few U.S. links, shipping companies are uniquely placed to do it. Their only material assets - ships - are constantly on the move, letting them conceivably seek insolvency protection anywhere they sail."Only in Chapter 11 can you get bankruptcy financing, can your management remain in place, and can you continue to operate the company," said Thomas Califano, a bankruptcy partner at law firm DLA Piper.The trend of ship owners ...

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Somali pirates keep U.S. hostage on the move

Pirates moved an American hostage athreatened Thursday to kill him after US rescue two hostages Pirates moved an American hostage at least three times in 24 hours and threatened Thursday to kill him after U.S. Navy SEALs rescued an American and a Dane in a bold, dark-of-night raid that raises questions about whether other Western captives are now in greater danger."If they try again, we will all die together," warned Hassan Abdi, a Somali pirate connected to the gang holding the American, who was kidnapped Saturday in northern Somalia."It's difficult to hold U.S. hostages, because it's a game of chance: die or get huge money. But we shall stick with our plans and will never release him until we get a ransom," Abdi said.U.S. Navy SEALs parachuted into Somalia early Wednesday and hiked to where captors were holding 32-year-old American Jessica Buchanan and Poul Hagen Thisted, a 60-year-old Dane. A shootout ensued and nine captors were killed. Buchanan, Thisted and the U.S. troops were all unharmed. The two aid workers had been kidnapped by gunmen in October while working on demining projects for the Danish Refugee Council.Medical screeningsBuchanan and Thisted were flown to the U.S. Naval Air Base at Sigonella ...

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Iran threatens U.S. ships, alarms oil markets

Iran escalated its war of words with the United States Iran escalated its war of words with the United States on Tuesday with a warning to Navy ships to stay out of the strategic Strait of Hormuz, remarks that rattled commodities markets and helped send oil prices soaring.The latest in a series of provocative statements by Iranian leaders was delivered by the Iranian armed forces commander, Gen. Ataollah Salehi, who appeared to threaten a U.S. aircraft carrier that steamed out of Persian Gulf waters last week."We warn this ship, which is considered a threat to us, not to come back, and we do not repeat our words twice," Salehi said, according to the Iranian Students' News Agency.The Obama administration brushed aside the threat, but the increasingly bellicose tone - coupled with new economic sanctions on Iran expected to take effect in the coming weeks - helped cause the price of oil to jump more than 4 percent during a day of upbeat economic news. Gold markets closed at their highest level in 10 weeks.The threat against U.S. ships was the latest in a series of aggressive moves by Iran, which within a week has tested new missiles, boasted of breakthroughs ...

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