At the end of March 2012, Isle of Man law firm Dougherty Quinn ("DQ") together with Döhle (IOM) Limited, Freeport Trust Company Limited and the Isle of Man Ship Registry facilitated the delivery, flagging and registration at the Isle of Man Ship Registry of the first of nine 13,100 TEU container vessels being built by Hyundai Heavy Industries in Korea, the largest shipbuilder and shipyard in the world. At over 360 metres long and 48.2 metres wide, these vessels are the largest to be registered in the Isle of Man and some of the largest vessels currently in operation in the world. To date three of the vessels (named Hanjin Sooho, Hanjin Asia and Hanjin Europe) have been registered at the Isle of Man Ship Registry.

The remaining vessels are scheduled to be delivered during 2012 and the first half of 2013. Each of these nine container ships is owned by nine Isle of Man entities, all administered from the Island by John Middleton of Freeport Trust Company Limited. Five ships are directly chartered to Hanjin Shipping and the remaining four are provided to the Döhle Group, who provide the ships to Hanjin Shipping under charters which include the provision of technical services. Hanjin Shipping is Korea's largest container operating company and the ninth largest in the world, managing over 3% of the world's container tonnage, in addition to having a notable presence in the tanker and bulk carrier sectors.

The transaction was structured and arranged by Crédit Agricole CIB and the nine vessels were financed using a facility provided by a number of banks, led by HSH Nordbank. Legal advice outside of the Isle of Man was provided by Norton Rose and Ince & Co from London acting for the banks and the builder respectively. The flag registration for all nine vessels is being coordinated by Eckhard Garbers and Luke Tippett from the Döhle Group working together with the Isle of Man Ship Registry. Isle of Man legal representation is provided by Mark Dougherty at DQ.

Mark Dougherty, director in DQ's corporate & commercial department and head of the shipping team commented:

"DQ was delighted to work with such large names in the shipping industry as well as with the Ship Registry itself in facilitating the delivery and registration of these vessels. The transaction highlights the enhanced reputation of the Isle of Man as a leading location for ship financing and registration. I know that all parties involved were impressed by what the Island had to offer and further work will emanate as a result of this. We must continue this support between the public and private sectors in order to continue building the Island's name as a leading jurisdiction within the global shipping industry."

The Isle of Man Ship Registry received no negative performance indicators in the 2011 Shipping Industry Flag State Performance, an annual exercise undertaken by the leading ship-owner groups. This recognition enforces its continuing commitment to maintain the Isle of Man as a leading international business centre renowned for professionalism and a longstanding policy of positive engagement with international standards.

Dick Welsh Director the Isle of Man Ship Registry, commented on the recent registrations:-

"This is a very important project for the Ship Registry. Adding nine such prestigious ships will enhance our reputation and add significant tonnage to the register with corresponding benefits for the Isle of Man. It has been a pleasure to work with all of the partners involved in bringing these ships on to the register as smoothly and efficiently as they have been throughout the process."

Photo shows the vessel Hanjin Sooho.

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